The San José’s cannons, photographed in November 2015 by the REMUS 6000

Credit: REMUS image, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In 1708, the San José— a Spanish galleon ship carrying a stash of gold, silver and emeralds — sank during a fierce battle against the British in the Caribbean Sea. Now, after sitting at the bottom of the ocean for 310 years, the San José’s shipwreck has finally been officially identified, thanks to an analysis of the distinctive bronze cannons that sank with the ship.

These bronze cannons still have ornate dolphins engraved on them, according to recordings made by the REMUS 6000, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that got within 30 feet (9.1 meters) of the shipwreck in 2015, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Although WHOI has known these details since 2015, only recently did affiliated agencies — Maritime Archaeology Consultants (MAC), Switzerland AG and the Colombian government  — give the researchers permission to release the details to the public. [See Photos of the San Jose Shipwreck]