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Fisherman spots 200-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Mexico

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The remains of a 200-year-old shipwreck were discovered off Mexico's Caribbean coast. (Photo: Mexican National Institute for Anthropology and History via CNN Newsource)

WASHINGTON (SBG) — A fisherman has lead researchers to a fascinating discovery in Mexico.

The remains of a shipwreck over 200 years old were discovered off the country's Caribbean coast. Underwater archaeologists said they've found remnants of what they believe to be an English sailboat, dating back to the 18th or beginning of the 19th century.

While most of the wood has rotted away, the ship's anchor, cannon and cast-iron ballasts were still intact.

The boat was sailing through an area known as "Dreamcatcher" when it met its demise. The location gets its name from the many ships who have met their fate there and is close to the ring-shaped Banco Chinchorro atoll reef.

Archaeologists think it sank after hitting a bank of the reef, also known as "Nightmare reef" or "Sleep-robbing reef" because of the dangers it posed to seamen, BBC reports.

Anthropologists said they have reason to believe the crew tried to prevent catastrophe by throwing the anchor, but sunk nonetheless.

The shipwreck was named Manuel Polanco, in honor of the fisherman who first spotted it, but it's not his first discovery in the area.

The Manuel Polanco is the 70th wreck to be found in the area, according to BBC. Polanco, who is now retired and in his 80s, made some of those remarkable discoveries in the 1960s and 70s.

"The fishermen are the ones who know Chinchorro best since they navigate it daily to earn their living, diving the Caribbean waters to find fish, lobsters or conch, that they sell in Mahahual or Xcalak, and often they happen to find submerged archaeological contexts," a press release states.

Manuel Polanco is a perfect example of this. Some of his best-known finds are the iconic shipwrecks dubbed "40 caƱones" (40 cannons) and "The Angel."

Due to Polanco's advanced age, he was not able to assist Mexico's National Archaeological Institute in locating the wreck, but his son was able to go instead.