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Historians may have discovered a mass grave from the Spanish Armada

The find comes as part of a project designed to find the wreck of the San Marcos galleon

A TEAM OF EXPLORERS have found a possible mass grave from the time of the Spanish Armada.

The San Marcos Project made the find after conducting a geophysical survey at the site of Tuama Na Spainneach in Spanish Point in Co Clare.

“It is definitely a big step for the project,” said project volunteer Dr John Treacy.

“Obviously we haven’t got conclusive proof yet but we will hopefully carry out a test excavation next year.

If this turns out to be true then it proves that there is a certain substance to the old legends from the local area … and this leaves us with a lot of hope for finding the shipwreck itself.”

The study forms part of an ongoing effort to find sites related to the San Marcos, a Portuguese galleon which participated in the Armada campaign.

spanishpoint Spanish Point, Co Clare Source: Google Maps

The latest find includes evidence of large underground caverns thought to be of the type used to bury bodies during the time of the Armada.

“If what we believe is correct then we are talking about quite a significant find as it would’ve taken 20 people digging for a day to make just one of these structures,” Treacy added.

However it’s not just history that has fuelled Treacy’s interest in the project.

“I come from Spanish Point myself and as a child we would’ve always been told not to walk across the area because it was known as a burial site.

“It would be the first ever Spanish Armada grave so as both a historian and a local of the area this is incredibly exciting for me.

“If we could prove that this is a grave connected to the Spanish Armada then it would finally prove some evidence as to where Spanish Point gets its name.”

The team now hope to carry out further investigations at the site although it is unknown how long such a dig out would take.

“We don’t know how long this would take as if we found human remains then it is a matter which falls to the gardaí as they would need to be sure that any bodies were not part of something more sinister.”

The latest survey, which was financially supported by the Heritage Council, is aimed at identifying possible targets which may represent the buried remains of those lost on the San Marcos and San Esteban when both vessels foundered off-shore in September 1588.

However the future of the project hinges on whether or not the team of volunteers can secure funding.

“Our progress so far has been amazing considering the fact that we are have very limited resources and we are all volunteers.

“But now we need to find a way of securing funding.

“If we can manage to do that then I’m confident we can achieve what we’ve set out to do.” he added.

The Spanish Armada was a fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruña in August 1588 with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. Between 17 and 24 of the Armada’s ships are reputed to have wrecked off the coast of Ireland

Read: Guns from the Spanish Armada have just been found off the Irish coast>

Read: A Spanish Armada cannonball just showed up on an Irish beach>

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