Local Diver Works To Uncover Historic Shipwrecks - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Local Diver Works To Uncover Historic Shipwrecks

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- A local man has become part of a discovery, involving a nearly 200-year-old mystery.

In 1827 off the coast of what is now Florida the Spanish ship called Guerrero was packed with some of the most expensive cargo at the time.

"It was spotted by a ship called the Nimble. We think it was either in Cuba, in the Bahamas or on its way to deliver the 561 Africans that it had on board," said Kenneth Stewart.

In less than 10 feet of water The Slave Ship Guerrero wrecked and killed 41 of the Africans on board.

"There is a three year saga on what happened to the rest of them. Some of them went back to Liberia, some were enslaved and went back to Cuba and that is where the story lay," said Stewart.

In 2012 a group of divers went on a mission to uncover history. Because the ship was made of wood and cooper sheet, they understood that there could be very little left.

"Anything covered in the water for 180 years is covered in causation and coral and you'll look at it and think it's nothing, "said

After reading information on the Guerrero Kenneth Stewart helped gather dozens of volunteer scuba divers to look for the mystery that lay under the sea.

"Once you have a trained eye you can say, 'oh', but if you don't have a trained eye it looks like another piece of coral," said Stewart.

During a weeklong training with a program called Divers With a Purpose Kenneth helped teach divers how to recognize history underwater.

"Once you finish you become an archaeologist advocate," he said.

On the most recent excursion to the ship, divers found some porcelain they believe was part of the 185 year old wreckage.

Stewart says this is just a small piece of the bigger picture.

"What we haven't found obviously is the smoking gun; which would be the bell that would say Guerrero on it," he explained.

Stewart says his passion comes from finding the history that could be his very own.

"Somebody's great great great great grandfather was on that ship. Somebody from this country."

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