Divers Exploring A North Sea Shipwreck Discovered An Immaculate 400-Year-Old Royal Treasure Trove

ADVERTISEMENT

Image: KAAP SKIL MUSEUM via National Geographic

Packed between beams of wood and buried in sand, the crate had lain undisturbed on the seabed for nearly 400 years – the lost cargo of a mysterious shipwreck – and the intrigue surrounding it would only deepen. Located by a team of Netherlands-based scuba divers in August 2014, the container was too delicate and weighty to move. So, one of the divers reached inside…

Image: Erik Tjallinks

Texel island is surrounded by the chilly waters of the Wadden Sea. Located in the southeastern reaches of Europe’s North Sea, the landmass lies 60 miles north of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. However, it’s worlds apart from the metropolitan buzz of the Dutch capital. Home to fewer than 14,000 people, Texel is dotted with small villages, desolate sand dunes and wind-swept beaches.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Ludolf Bakhuizen

But while it may be hard to imagine now, Texel was once an important harbor for Dutch India Company ships. Seeking to exploit the powerful winds that batter the island during winter, captains would drop anchor offshore and wait for favorable sailing conditions. Yet Northern Europe’s winter storms can be brutal and unforgiving. Indeed, up to 1,000 vessels are thought to have sunk off Texel between the 16th and 19th centuries.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT