Interactive Journey of the Zuytdorp Silver

Earlier this year I gave a presentation at the National Archaeology Student Conference about the silver assemblage from the wreckage of the Zuytdorp. The Zuytdorp was a Dutch ship wrecked on the Western Australian coast in 1712. After the failed salvage attempts of the Vergulde Draeck, another Dutch ship wrecked off WA, the Dutch didn’t bother sending anyone to look for survivors, and so the wreck represents a near complete assemblage of the ship’s cargo.Basically, I was looking at what we know about silver movement at the time (that it came from the Americas, and passed on to Europe via Spain) compared to what was found on the Zuytdorp. I looked at how silver dispersed from the Americas, and what silver was making it to Holland based on historical records. I then compared what you would expect to see on a Dutch ship from 1712 to what was on the Zuytdorp. Essentially, there was a lot of American silver, which is a little surprising to see that it hadn’t been reminted at all.

Mostly, I’m pretty pleased with my interactive map (click the picture below), it’s very rough, since I haven’t done anything like this before, but it was fun to present something that isn’t a powerpoint presentation. Also, it’s true to time, so when the ship zips off across the Indian Ocean, that’s because of the Roaring 40s winds, and then kablamo! Zuytdorp sinks. Pretty nifty!

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