Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Investigation of 17th Century Shipbuilding Techniques and Methods of Recording these Ship Structures

Author/s J.N. Green

Year of publication 1980

Report Number: 16

The objectives of this study are, firstly to investigate existing 17th century ship structures in order to learn more about the methods techiques and properties of such structures, and secondly, to develop methods of recording such stnlctures underwater. This report is divided into two parts dealing with these two separate studies.

The investigation of ship stnlctures has been most successful. Four major 17th century ship structures have been recorded to date: the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company) ship Batavia, lost off the Western Australian coast in 1629, the Portuguese ship Santo Antonio de Tanna , lost in Mombasa Harbour (Kenya) in 1697; the Kedelhaven ship E81, lost in the Iselmeerpolder, Holland. in the mid 17th century; and the Sweedish warship Wasa, lost in Stockholm Harbour in 1629.

The analysis of the records of these ships are in varying stages of progress. In the Batavia study, a 1:10 scale model is under construction, all the structure has been recorded, catalogued and drawn up, and detailed plans are about to be produced. The Santo Antonio de Tanna plans are almost complete, and should be ready for publication later this year. Detailed analysis of the Kedelhaven ship and the Wasa await study, which will be undertaken as time permits.