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Landrotten Highlander

2 recent discoveries of ancient ship-wrecks

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Hi All,

I learned today that two ship-wrecks from the 'golden age of sail' have been found

 

The first link relates to the portugese vessel 'Esmeralda', which sank of the coast of Oman in a storm in the year 1503.  Most of the ship has disappeared due to its location in shallow water, but plenty of unique artefacts (including what they think is an astrolabe) have been found.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/15/marine-archaeologists-discover-rare-artefacts-at-1503-shipwreck-site

 

 

The other thing I read  this mornng (it is in Dutch/Flemish) is about a Dutch Fregat built in Medemblik, West Friesland around 1708.  The archeologists are 95% certain it is the 'Huis te Warmelo' and sank apparently by stricking a rock.  The remarkable thing about this wreck is that the ship is in excellent condition - the cold water has preserved the wooden construction so that even the guns are still standing on the deck.

 

http://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20160314_02182297

 

Would love to hear from anybody that can shed some further light on both vessels.

 

Slainte

Peter

 

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Can't shed much further light on these particular vessels, but the Esmerelda in particular is a very exciting find.

 

She'd be very similar to the Nave Tonda that Woodrat is currently building on the scratch build forum.

 

There's also info on this type of ship in the "Important links to ship modelling resources" section under the heading "Archaeological studies on carrack wrecks" and also "The Cavalaire Wreck - Basque Carrack of c.1479", (which being from the Iberian peninsula would have had a lot in common with the Esmerelda).

 

It's a shame so little of the vessel itself has been recovered. But it eoul be good to learn more of the artefacts they've found.

 

Steven

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Actually only 23 years, and we don't know how old the Esmerelda was when she sank.

 

The Flor de la Mar is dated to 1511 but I believe the picture to have been produced some decades later.

 

Pictures of which the date is known, such as the Calicut Tapestry of 1504 (of Vasco da Gama's voyage to India) and Jacopo de Barbari's picture of Venice of 1500 still show the classic carrack shape. By the time of the Santa Caterina do Monto Sinai of 1520 ships were getting bigger and more sophisticated, but a nau wrecked in 1503 will have looked very like the ships mentioned above.

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Hi Steven

 

 

You're probably closer to being right than I, but that type of image of the discoveries "naus" is with me

from my school days, and reinforced by the sort of reconstructions as in the link bellow (second photo),

so I couldn't resist

 

http://museu.marinha.pt/pt/galeriadigital/fotografias/modelos/Paginas/default.aspx

 

thanks for replying

Zeh

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Yes, I find that whole period of ship design fascinating. And certainly naus did develop into the kind of ship you linked to. That's more of a galleon shape - with a beakhead and without the gigantic forecastle and sterncastle that would have made late "super-carracks" like the Mary Rose so unwieldy.

 

Steven

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Well, I don't know the Calicut tapestry, but I'm ready to take your word on it.

You made me go back and find if I was just reproducing second hand schoolbook illustrations.

there is at least one contemporary drawing already showing the shapes I recall.

It'a a page of Livro das Armadas (Fleet's Book) showing the fleet of Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500

the same fleet that discovered Brasil, with the fate of the ships, including in the right lower corner the

caravel of Bartolomeu Dias with the note "lost in the storm".

Look at the shapes in the first row, they are what I recalled, though a bit schematic.

 

 

Personal note:

I am not trying to assert I'm right I'm just putting forward what I think I know to be discussed and if I can

learn something from it so much the better which usually happens because most members here are much 

more knowleageable than I

 

 

All the best

Zeh

post-756-0-11066800-1460319613_thumb.jpg

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Yes that's a very interesting resource and I got all excited when I found it. I was very disappointed when I discovered it was produced decades after the event.

 

Even the Calicut Tapestry isn't fully representative of Vasco da Gama's ships. Though it was made a very short time after the events, it was produced in Flanders, not Portugal. And the artist probably used a Flemish ship as his model, not a Portuguese one. From looking at a lot of carrack pictures, they were all quite similar, but there were definite regional differences.

 

Still all we can do is make a 'best guess' with what information we do have and try to get as close as we can to how the real ships were.

 

We all have lots to learn. But that's what makes it fun.

 

 

Steven

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Yes I know the Miller Atlas. I think it's fantastic. The old portolans often have surprisingly good pictures of ships, particularly from about 1500 to 1580. Some months ago I did a google image search under portolan/portulan/portulano etc and came with a treasure trove of pictures. Not terribly good on detail but very enlightening on the general shape and form of ships of the time. I put a few up on a discussion about the Mary Rose's forecastle, if you're interested.

 

Best wishes, Steven

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I'd like that, thank you.

After a long time away from that time period my interest is slowly returning.

My interest faded because no one could even agree on what a caravel looked like and how it would manoeuvre

and much of the discussion was biased, i.e. the portuguese greatness and uniqueness were the aims taking the

discussion out of the european context. (forty some years later I still find I am biased).

A few years back I found Texas A&M research and I have been following their research throug Academia.edu.

 

All the best

Zeh

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Zeh, I'd like to send you the link to the discussion about the Mary Rose but I don't have access to a computer - only my phone. But if you do a search on Msry Rose forecastle on MSW you'll find it and links to some more sites with portolans. By the way if you want to see the Calicut Tapestry (and I can recommend it) do a google image search for Vasco da Gama tapestry and you should be able to find it. Apparently there were a series of tapestries made to commemorate the voyage. I think only one of them shows the ships. By the way, am I right in thinking Vasco means Basque? If so, maybe it wad a nickname - 'the Basque guy'. The reason I'm interested is that fir some reason the Basques seem to have been at the cutting edge of ship design at the time - they seem to crop up everywhere.

 

And it was a very exciting time. In few short decades they progressed from simply rigged single masted, relatively small ships to (relatively) huge complex 3 and 4 masters capable of travelling anywhere. I've got huge respect for the shipwrights of the time. They were true pioneers,equally worthy of respect with the great artists and architects who were their contemporaries.

 

Speaking of caravels, a guy here in Australia, about an hours drive from where I live, has built a reconstruction of a caravel and sails it around. There's a legend here that a wreck found in the sands 150 or so years ago and then reburied by the sand was from a Portuguese expedition which got as far as Warrnambool on our south coast in the early 16th century and mapped it but turned back aftet one of the ships was wrecked.

 

People have been searching for this wreck, the so-called Mahogany Ship, even as recently as a couple of years ago with echo-locators, but with no success. Fascinating- it'd be great if they found it - but if it turned out to be something ordinary and boring we'd have lost one of our local legends. So I don't know if I really want it to be found . . .

 

Steven

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Well Steven you're right about the origin of the name, but by that date it was a christian name, not a nickname.

 

The Captains or Amirals of discovery expeditions were either squires from D. Henriques' household, or the king's,

or members of the gentry and small nobility already having some sailing experience and astronomical knowledge.

The only possible exception to that rule was the period 1460-1474 when it was outsourced, so to speak.

(death of D. Henrique to the taking charge of the futur John II)

So it happens with Vasco da Gama, the son of the governor of a small town, that belonged to the household

of the Master of the Order Of Christ which usualy financed the discoveries ..........and reaped its profits.

 

I will check here the MSW thread.

I did look up the tapestry, impressive, but the ships seem to be closer to some flemish engravings ( somebody signing  W A) with a

still medieval scent rather than something new.

 

There's indeed a theory that the portuguese indeed reached Australia in the early 1600s

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Capricorn

 

 

If I can be of any help don't hesitate

 

Zeh

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