MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. – In a confidential location at sea, explorers believe they're getting closer to what might become the richest archaeological discovery of our time.
A recently washed-up ancient Peruvian funeral mask is believed to be part of a $4 billion sunken treasure off the coast of Melbourne Beach.
According to researchers with Seafarer Exploration Corporation, the treasure went down with a Spanish ship sunk in 1715 during a hurricane as it sailed from Cuba to Spain.
Searching for the past 11 years, Army Ranger and MIT adjunct professor Dr. Mike Torres believes teams have found the debris trail.
"There are not many examples of this in the world today," Torres said about what he called the team's first major discovery in 11 years.
Torres believes the Spanish took the mask from a tomb in Peru.
Long before European contact, archaeologists believe a native civilization smelted the mask possibly thousands of years BC.
Now containing only trace elements of gold and silver, the mask is believed to have originally been gold-plated.