Shipwreck sites were locations housing the remains of wrecked ships, which had either sunk to the bottom of a body of water or become beached. They were frequently explored by scavengers hoping to recover some of the vessel's cargo or valuables.
During the age of sail, vessels of all kinds often wound up shipwrecked for a variety of reasons. In regions such as the Caribbean, the shallow waters combined with the frequent hurricanes and tropical storms led to a high amount of ships being tossed onto the rocky shores; their stranded crews often perished before they could be rescued. In regions farther north, such as the Northwest Passage, vessels sometimes became encased in ice instead.
In 1715, the Spanish Treasure Fleet entered a tropical storm and subsequently sank off the coast of Florida, taking with it a fortune of reales. This caused pirates of all kinds to flock to the region in search of wealth, many of them previously being privateers that were unemployed due to the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
Through the use of diving bells, many managed to reach the sunken wrecks and search them for contents; through this vein, the pirate Edward Kenway recovered a lot of treasure, after he attempted to find medicine at the San Ignacio wreck in January 1718 on behalf of the Pirate Republic of Nassau.
Sometime during the 18th century, a small ship ran aground in the Louisiana Bayou and came to be used as a camp by a burgeoning cult. The encampment was subsequently dispelled by the Assassin Aveline de Grandpré, who sought to erase the band of followers' influence in the swamp, on the orders of her Mentor Agaté.
The Kanien'kehá:ka Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton also explored several shipwrecks in his quest for Captain Kidd's treasure. In 1774, he traveled to Dead Chest Island, where he chased a scavenger through a ship graveyard, eventually assassinating him and recovering a piece of Kidd's treasure map. Two years later, he journeyed to the wreck of the Octavius, a ship that had become stuck in ice, and managed to acquire another piece of the map.
Known shipwreck sites
- Antocha wreck
- The Black Trench
- The Blue Hole
- Dead Chest Island
- Devil's Eye Caverns
- El Arca del Maestro wreck
- Kabah Ruins
- La Concepcion wreck
- San Ignacio wreck