The ongoing clean-up operations near the Wadden islands in Friesland have yielded another historical discovery: a 16th century shipwreck. The ship is believed to be the oldest sea faring vessel ever found in Dutch waters.
Translation by Traci White
Education, Culture and Science minister Ingrid van Engelshoven described the shipwreck as “a spectacular find”: “this discovery is truly enriching for Dutch cultural history.” Wooden beams and copper plates from the wrecked ship were spotted during ongoing salvage works in the area.
An analysis by archaeologists determined that the wooden beams came from a ship that was around with 30-meters-long with a smooth hull which was transporting copper plates.
According to the Dutch government agency for cultural heritage, researchers concluded that the wood had been chopped down in 1536 and believe that the ship was built around 1540 in what would eventually become the Netherlands.
The copper plates have been dated to around the same period. One special identifying characteristic of the copper plates is that they bore markings from the Fugger family, who had a monopoly of copper production in the 16th century.
In the early hours of the 2nd of January, MSC Zoe, one of the largest container ships in the world, lost hundreds of containers when they fell overboard into the waters of the North Sea above the Netherlands and Germany. Most of the containers eventually settled on the ocean floor, and clean up operations to salvage the containers are expected to continue for months to come.
The shipwreck is the second historically significant discovery to be made inadvertently due to the MSC Zoe container clean up: in late February, remnants of three World War II-era aircraft were also found in the waters where hundreds of containers fell overboard.