Kim Fisher, son of the late treasure salvager Mel Fisher, said his dive teams located what may be the ship's sterncastle - a rear structure where aristocracy or clergy would travel with their belongings - about 12 miles from where the rest of the wreck was found 15 years ago.
The Atocha, carrying millions in gold and silver bullion, was bound for Spain from the New World when it went down in a hurricane about 30 miles west of Key West in 1622. Fisher's company, Treasure Salvors Inc., has recovered artifacts estimated to be worth $200 million to $500 million.
Kim Fisher said gold bars, money chains, silver coins and assorted pieces of jewelry that could be worth more than $500,000 have been salvaged from the new find, discovered Sunday.
"We're pretty confident this is the sterncastle," Fisher said. "In addition to the gold and silver, we're finding swords, cannon balls, rifles and other armaments. That is all stuff that would be associated with the most secure part of the ship."
Fisher said millions in gold and jewels may still lie on the ocean bottom.
Most of the wealth from the original find has gone to investors who funded Mel Fisher's many years of salvage efforts.