Two of our divers, Graham Scott and Paolo Croce, recently took part in a very productive international underwater survey of the protected wreck Rooswijk on the Goodwin Sands. This Dutch East India Company ship wrecked in 1739 en route from Texel, North Holland to the East Indies and so it was extremely appropriate to have the heritage agencies of both England and the Netherlands involved in this investigation of the Dutch wreck in British waters.
During the middle of September, Rooswijk was investigated by an international team headed by Martijn Manders from the Maritime Programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands in liaison with Historic England. Together with divers from both sides of the North Sea, including our divers, the team took turns to measure and document the seabed remains. All up, the divers spent 20 hours underwater and took tens of measurements, hundreds of photographs and many videos to ensure that the wreck was well documented in its current condition.
Obviously, an underwater project of this nature attracted a lot of media attention. So in between measuring timbers and cannon, the divers were interviewed for BBC and ITV and the fieldwork was also covered in many newspapers.
The Rooswijk has been designated a protected wreck by Historic England because it is threatened by both human interference and environmental factors. The site has already been subjected to salvage with the removal of up to 10,000 silver coins. As is common for the area, a mobile sand bank periodically covers or buries parts or all of Rooswijk. For this reason, it is important to gain a better understanding of the wreck site as it is now, compare it to records from past archaeological investigations, to be better prepared for any changes in the future. In this way, Rooswijk will be preserved for Dutch and British licensed divers to visit in the future.