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Rooswijk wreck dives reveal stories of Europe’s global trading history

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An international team of maritime archaeologists are diving, excavating and recording the wreck site of Dutch ship the Rooswijk off the Kent coast. They are excavating the storage rooms and living quarters in the stern of the ship and items such as large wooden seaman’s chests, pewter jugs and spoons, glass bottles, ornately carved knife handles and personal items such as shoes have been recovered from the wreck and brought to shore at Ramsgate where they are being conserved.

A member of the Rooswijk diving team holding a glass brandy bottle recovered from the Dutch VOC East Indiaman ship – Rooswijk. Wrecked on the Goodwin Sands 8th January 1740. (c) Historic England

The Rooswijk was a Dutch East India Company (VOC) vessel which sank on the treacherous Goodwin Sands, off Kent, in January 1740. The ship was outward bound for Batavia (modern-day Jakarta) with a large cargo of silver ingots and coinage on board. Now a protected wreck site the ship’s remains are owned by the Dutch Government, and managed by Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The #Rooswijk1740 project is led and financed by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, as part of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Throughout this summer, maritime archaeologists are working to excavate and record large areas of the wreck site. The Rooswijk is threatened by currents and shifting sands and an exploratory study of the wreck last year cemented the urgent need for the current excavation. The site is classed as ‘high risk’ on the Heritage at Risk register due to its exposed remains and vulnerability.

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “The shipwrecks around our coastline are amazing snapshots of Europe’s seafaring and naval history and it is important that we study them while we can. The Rooswijk excavation will help recover and protect extraordinary artefacts and I am particularly pleased that members of the public can see this important work in action.”

Alison James, Maritime Archaeologist at Historic England, said: “Wrecks such as the Rooswijk are time capsules that offer a unique glimpse into the past and tell a story. Sharing that story with a wide audience is a key part of this project and we look forward to the fascinating insights and discoveries that the Rooswijk excavation will uncover this summer.”

Martijn Manders, Project Leader of the Rooswijk Excavation and Maritime Heritage Programme Manager at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, said: “The Goodwin Sands has been a treacherous place for ships throughout the centuries and is now a treasure trove for archaeologists. It is also popular with sports divers. The rapidly shifting sands mean that the site is even more exposed now than it was during our initial dives to assess the condition of the Rooswijk last year. This makes the excavation urgent. We are excited about this project because the Rooswijk is a showcase of modern underwater archaeology in which cooperation is essential. It provides unique opportunities for young professionals and the public to participate and is a project through which we can learn about our shared past and who we are.”

There are a total of 250 Dutch East India Company shipwrecks, of which only a third have been located. Never before has a Dutch East India Company wreck been scientifically researched or excavated on this scale.

CONSERVATION

Material recovered from the wreck site is being taken ashore to a warehouse in Ramsgate where first-aid conservation will be carried out and the items fully recorded. From here finds will be taken to a Historic England storage facility where work to assess, analyse and conserve them will take place. The finds will be returned to The Netherlands and in future some material may be made available for display in Ramsgate.

Maritime archaeology students are based at the Ramsgate venue and are benefiting from a programme of training delivered by Historic England specialists as well as the opportunity to be involved in the project.

The #Rooswijk 1740 Project team. (c) Historic England

PUBLIC OPEN DAYS

During the excavation, there will be open days and training sessions in Ramsgate. The public will be able to see extraordinary finds from the Rooswijk and explore the techniques and technology the archaeologists are using. Further information: https://historicengland.org.uk/get-involved/visit/rooswijk-shipwreck-excavation/

The #Rooswijk1740 project will contribute to Ramsgate’s Heritage Action Zone initiative by providing a focus for community pride, a sense of shared history, and a sense of belonging.

Historic England (formerly known as English Heritage), is the public body that champions and protects England’s historic places. They look after the historic environment, providing expert advice, helping people protect and care for it and helping the public to understand and enjoy it. Find out more at www.HistoricEngland.org.uk.

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WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!

The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.

  • Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
  • Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
  • Internal retaining straps
  • Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
  • Side compartment for fins
  • Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
  • Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
  • Drainage vents
  • Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?

Is there:

  • A) 7,209
  • B) 7,532
  • C) 7,641

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Beuchat Air Light Bag December 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Beuchat and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 13/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)

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How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.

In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.

Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Dive safe, dive often!

James


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