Bill Burt
Sharon Wiley  /  AP
A centuries-old, 40-inch-long gold chain found off the Florida Keys is shown in this photo released by the Florida Keys News Bureau on Thursday. The chain has an enameled gold cross and two-sided engraved religious medallion.
updated 3/25/2011 4:32:59 PM ET 2011-03-25T20:32:59

Shipwreck experts are evaluating a centuries-old 40-inch gold chain plucked from the seafloor while searching for a 17th-century sunken Spanish galleon off the Florida Keys.

The piece is tentatively valued at about $250,000. It is believed to be from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sank during a 1622 hurricane. It was found Wednesday by divers from Mel Fisher's Treasures about 35 miles west of Key West.

The chain has 55 links, an enameled gold cross and a two-sided engraved religious medallion featuring the Virgin Mary and a chalice.

Bill Burt
Sharon Wiley  /  AP
Bill Burt, a diver for Mel Fisher's Treasures, shows off the gold chain that he found.

In 1985, the Fisher crew recovered more than $450 million in artifacts and treasure from the Atocha shipwreck, but part of the ship has not been found.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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