18th Century Shipwreck Discovered in 'Underwater Pompeii'

18th Century Shipwreck Discovered in 'Underwater Pompeii'

Archaeologists have discovered what they have described as an 'underwater Pompeii' containing an 18th Century shipwreck.

The ship was found by marine archaeologists off the coast of Ramsgate in Kent.

The ship was named the Rooswijk and it had sunk during a storm in January of 1740, which was only its second voyage.

It had been owned by the Dutch East India Company and was headed towards Jakarta for trade purposes when it sank.

The ship was originally discovered by a diver in 2005. Soon after the ship was discovered, a wooden chest containing letters washed ashore at Deal, Kent.

From these letters, the captain was identified as Daniel Rousiers but the rest of the victims’ names were lost to time.

In 2016, Historic England and the Dutch Cultural Heritage had realised that the ship was in danger of damage from an invasive shipworm.

The shipworm can speed up decay and attack the timbers of a ship. This caused archaeologists to move towards conserving the ship as soon as possible.

In the shipwreck, the archaeologists found three treasure chests, which they believe contained silver ingots which were bound for the East Indies.

They also found the skeletal remains of the crew who were on board the ship when it sank.

The researchers believe that, along with the sailors, there would also have been soldiers onboard to protect the cargo.

In total, there would have been around 250 people onboard the ship when it sank. It is believed that none of the people onboard survived.

Mark Dunkley, a marine archaeologist from Historic England, noted that “It’s a highly significant assemblage because it is so rare to find a lost crew on a shipwreck…it’s like an underwater Pompeii”.

Our Archaeology of the Bay of Naples tour not only includes the well-known and impressive remains of Pompeii and the superbly preserved Herculaneum but also those lesser known, but nonetheless important sites such as the seaside villas of the wealthy at Oplontis; Stabiae, where the frescoes are amongst the most beautiful found anywhere in the world; Cumae, the first Greek colony on the Italian mainland; Baiae, a fashionable Roman seaside resort, and Pozzuoli, the main port of the early Roman Empire.

Pictured: The Ampitheatre on our Archaeology of the Bay of Naples tour

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Added: 29th October 2020

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