Magnetic Survey for Cortes’ Fleet in Villa Rica Bay, Mexico

Author(s): Ilya Inozemtsev; Doug Hrvoic

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Plus Ultra: An examination of current research in Spanish Colonial/Iberian Underwater and Terrestrial Archaeology in the Western Hemisphere." , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Hernan Cortes arrived at the shores of North America in 1519 and famously scuttled his own fleet of ships, at a location believed to be about 60km north of modern day Veracruz. An expedition to find the lost fleet was begun in July 2018, nearly 500 years after Cortes' arrival. Due to high sediment transport in the bay in which the fleet is thought to lie, magnetic methods were quickly adopted as key to finding any remains. A multi-week magnetic survey was conducted, and many challenges presented by the area’s unerlying volcanic geology and strongly magnetic sediments were confronted and overcome. This talk will discuss the geophysical methods used to survey the area, overcome the environmental challenges, and identify a list of many potential targets, one of which was a ship’s anchor that was partially excavated and whose wooden components were subsequently carbon-dated to the 15th Century.

Cite this Record

Magnetic Survey for Cortes’ Fleet in Villa Rica Bay, Mexico. Ilya Inozemtsev, Doug Hrvoic. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457282)


Cortes Magnetometer Survey

Geographic Keywords

Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -141.003; min lat: 41.684 ; max long: -52.617; max lat: 83.113 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 481