Commissioned by: Rijkswaterstaat (Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management)
Discovery on the riverbed
After getting the stern, midships and bows on to dry land, archaeologists carefully examined and documented the ship’s construction. They made a number of interesting discoveries, including the remains of a fireplace and some utensils belonging to the skipper.
This type of ship is a fishing vessel which was formerly used to transport fresh fish kept alive in a water tank in the ship’s hold (the well). Fishing vessels like this were a common sight in the waters surrounding Amsterdam between the 16th and 18th centuries. They were also used to tow large seagoing vessels along the Pampus channel. This particular ship may well have been on its way to the fish market in Amsterdam to deliver its catch of fresh fish. Archaeologists found a large number of fish bones in the hold. From the tree rings in the wood, they deduced that the ship must have been built round about 1585. They also found a coin dating from 1596. The ship sank round about 1600, but we still do not know why.
Sinking the ship again
The Bureau Monumenten & Archeologie (Monuments, Historic Buildings and Archaeological Sites Department, BMA) in Amsterdam thought it was worth while preserving the ship. So after a full archaeological examination had been carried out, the ship was sunk once again at the bottom of the River IJ. The wood will be much better preserved under water.