The BZN 17 was discovered in 2009 by recreational divers. The ship is well preserved with many finds in good condition. One of the finds was a dress (see trivia).
The Cultural Heritage Agency performed research on the BZN 17 in 2004. In August 2015 an extended inventory research was done by Maritime Programme diving team (RCE).
Date and provenance
Dendro analysis of the planking and part of a frame has given a clear date:
- Sample BZS00071 tpq. date 1630+/- 8.
- Sample BZN00051 felled in 1638 +/- 9.*
The provenance of the wood was Germany, Nieder Saksen. These dates fit the inscription on a Jacob's staff that was found on the wreck, which reveals a date 1636. One cannon, reportedly salvaged from the wreck by recreational divers, has an inscription of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, fecit in 1639.
* DCCD rapport nr. P:2016001.
Part of the cargo consisted of boxwood (buxus). This is very durable wood used for cabinet or music instruments. The relative big size of the buxus trunks suggest a southern European / North African origin. Part of the cargo was Italian majolica earthware. Some objects found belonged to the inventory of the ship (earthware) and personal belongings of the crew are Dutch. The trunks of boxwood were damaged by the shipworm. If wood or a wooden shipwreck is above the sand, the shipworm is a huge potential threat to the preservation of the wood. The shipworm destroys a shipwreck in relatively short time. Without protection a ship could disappear entirely in a few years time.
A silk dress found buried in the sand by recreational divers in the Wadden Sea is one of the most significant maritime finds ever made. The dress, other items of clothing and day-to-day artifacts such as a comb, books and a pomander, were found by divers in the BZN 17. The dress, which experts say was probably owned by a noblewoman, if not royalty, is in remarkably good condition. Made of silk damask with a pattern of flowers, the dress was probably for everyday use because it does not have silver or gold embroidery. Other items of clothing found under the sand were richly embroidered. All the clothing is of similar size, indicating it belonged to the same woman.
A leather book cover
The BZN 17 has already produced remarkable finds. Divers have reported to have found a chest with books. The books itself were destroyed before experts could examine them. Only a leather cover remains, which is very important and intriguing because it carries the coat of arms of the British king Charles I from the House of Stuart. This is direct evidence that at least part of the cargo belonged to someone who was close to the English royal family, the Stuarts.
Armed merchantman. A straetvaarder, pinas or fluyt. Dutch built.
The original name is unknown. The object name is Burgzand Noord 17 (BZN 17)
Dendro analysis (DCCD P:2016001) and construction features make it probable that it was a Dutch ship built between ca. 1640-1650.
Site dimensions are 40 m. x 20 m.
Armament: at least 5 cannons were reported salvaged. One cannon is reported to be from this wreck. The other four have disappeared.
The ship is well preserved to the uppermost main deck. Most of the ship and hull seem to be well preserved in the sand.
The BZN 17 is a wreck lying within a Rijksmonument, which is a national heritage site of the Netherlands. The area that is a Rijksmonument has at least 12 known shipwrecks from the 16th, 17th and 18th century in it. The area is of a high archaeological value. It is likely that more wrecks will be discovered in the future. The sea bed in the Burgzand area is very dynamic. Erosion is the enemy of wooden wrecks. Wrecks appear from under the sand. When they are exposed wooden parts decay quickly because of the shipworm.
The BZN 17 is such a 'new' wreck and it is still very well preserved, but without physically protection it will decay fast. In the summer of 2016 the RCE has done research and took protective measurements.
- Brenk, S. van den & M.R. Manders, 2014: Monitoring Scheepswrakken Burgzand Noord Periode 1998-2013, Periplus Archaeomore/RCE Rapport 13-A031, Amsterdam.
- Manders, M.R., 2018: Preserving a layered history of the Western Wadden Sea. Managing an underwater cultural heritage resource, Amersfoort.
- Vos, A. 2012: Onderwaterarcheologie op de Rede van Texel, Amersfoort.
- Blog pages from the Maritime Programme (In Dutch).