Cape Romain Shipwreck Artifacts


Artifacts found on Cape Romain shipwreck



Heavily encrusted flintlock pistol found on Cape Romain shipwreck.

Heavily encrusted flintlock pistol found on Cape Romain shipwreck.

Could they be from the Diamante?

The following pictures are of some of the many valuable artifacts from a wreck on Cape Romain that was discovered by Dr. E. Lee Spence. They were salvaged by Spence’s dive team during two very brief investigations of the wreck circa 1987. Spence estimates that a total of less than one week of diving was actually done on the site, at that time, and he had always wanted to return, but didn’t have the legal rights to the wrecks. In 2012, the court awarded Spence the ownership rights to this wreck and all of the other wrecks that he had discovered at the Cape, so he is finally able to pursue work on the wrecks. The speculation in 1987 was that this site was the wreck of the Spanish schooner Diamante lost in 1816, but as we have found more artifacts we are now convinced the wreck is from the late 1700s. Regardless of its identity, it is clear from the artifacts that it is a valuable wreck. And, since it is not the Diamante, then the Diamante is quite likely one of the other shipwrecks that Spence has already discovered in the same general area, but has yet to excavate. Spence also owns the exclusive rights to those shipwrecks. Dr. Spence’s expedition, funded by Treasure Shipwrecks and Research, Inc., plans to start excavating some of these other wrecks in September of 2014. 

Gold thimble and chain found on Cape Romain. 1987 photo courtesy E. Lee Spence, Shipwrecks Inc.

Gold thimble and bracelet found on Cape Romain.


Diver breaks apart conglomerate containing pewter plates & silver plates found on Cape Romain shipwreck. 1987 Photo courtesy Dr. E. Lee Spence & Shipwrecks Inc.

Diver breaks apart one of the conglomerate raised from a Cape Romain shipwreck. Both pewter and silver plates were found. Photo courtesy Dr. E. Lee Spence & Shipwrecks Inc.

Dr. E. Lee Spence in orange Unisuit, with metal detector on deck of boat. Examines artifacts.

Underwater archaeologist Dr. E. Lee Spence examines “Sheffield silver” candle arbor and other artifacts recovered from a wreck on Cape Romain.
Photo by Kevin Rooney courtesy Shipwrecks Inc.


Large, rectangular, copper pot (complete with lid) found on one of Dr. E. Lee Spence's Cape Romain shipwrecks.

Covered copper pot found on one of Dr. E. Lee Spence’s Cape Romain shipwrecks.
Photo by Kevin Rooney courtesy Shipwrecks Inc.

Crystal decanter stoppers from Cape Romain shipwreck.

Crystal decanter stoppers from Cape Romain shipwreck.
© 1987 by Shipwrecks Inc.

IMPORTANT: Keep checking back as Dr. Spence will be going through his files trying to locate more pictures of the artifacts that were recovered during his short investigation of this site circa 1987. The artifacts included two iron cannons, crystal decanter stoppers, pewter chocolate molds, pewter plates, silver plates, copper syringes, gold rings, musket parts, a stove, a water closet, a large copper container, parts of an octant (navigational device), bottles, china, ornate clock, iron pigs, etc. Some very early, Spanish silver cobs (hand struck coins) were also found encrusted to an isolated piece of pig-iron recovered during a single dive made by Kevin Rooney, but because the coins dated from a much earlier time period it is thought they were more likely from one of the other shipwrecks that Spence has found nearby, which has yet to be investigated.

More on the SS Diamante or Diamond

Information on: Contemporary News Accounts
Information on: Overview of the Diamond


Ownership of the Diamante's cargo

This is one of several pages dealing with the Spanish schooner Diamante, which was shipwrecked in 1816 while bound from Cuba to Africa with a “valuable cargo” and a “considerable sum of money.” In 2012, underwater archaeologist Dr. E. Lee Spence filed a claim in Federal District Court against a number of unidentified shipwrecks that he had previously discovered outside of the State three mile limit at Cape Romain, South Carolina. Although still officially unidentified, based on the historical descriptions of where she was lost, it is reasonable to believe that one of the wrecks (although not this one) that Dr. Spence has found will eventually prove to be that of the Diamante. Spence’s claim was made under both the law of salvage and the law of finds and was against both the recovered wreckage and the wreckage in situ. The Court ruled that Spence was the “true and exclusive owner of the abandoned wreckage” (which includes all of the shipwrecks that he had found in the specific area designated in his court filing), which means he is already the legal owner of any and all shipwreck gold, silver, cannons, hulls, engines, rigging, and other artifacts on all of the those wrecks that he has found in his claim area, including all of the material which has yet to be salvaged. To learn more about shipwrecks in general, check out Spence’s page on Facebook. This contains speculation and forward thinking and is not and should not be considered part of any offering memorandum.