My favourite maritime heritage is a shipwreck called Palmhoutwrak (Also known as BZN 17) . It was found near the Dutch island Texel. The shipwreck dates back to the seventeenth century and includes many beautiful finds of which a large part has remained intact. Examples of these are a gorgeous seventeenth century silk dress, a large number of wooden objects as well as metal and ceramic materials.
The reason that this particular shipwreck is my absolute favourite topic in maritime heritage is mainly based on two different aspects. The first reason is that I have personally come across many of the objects that have been found near and in the shipwreck. As a student of conservation and restoration of cultural heritage at the University of Amsterdam (specialising in glass, ceramics, and stone), I have done an internship at the conservation and restoration company called Restaura in Heerlen where many of the objects from the Palmhoutwrak have been restored and preserved. By being able to closely observe the documentation, restoration and conservation of these specific objects, my understanding in the decision-making processes behind the preservation of maritime heritage has greatly enlarged. Also, this has broadened my knowledge of the importance of this specific shipwreck as well as maritime archaeology in general.
Besides this personal aspect, I have become very intrigued with the way this shipwreck and its finds have been used to inform the public about maritime archaeology, and more specifically how the finds have become an important part of the Dutch cultural heritage but also remained important within the culture of the local population of Texel itself. The objects have for instance often been lend to several Dutch institutes and museums for exhibitions, but in the end most of the objects will be exhibited at a museum on Texel.
Also, a project has been conducted in which research has been done into the way a pair of socks, that was found near the shipwreck, had been knitted. Instead of excluding the local population from this research, care had been taken that the local population was actually involved and could even take part into the research as well (www.kostuumvereniging.nl). This has shown me that maritime archaeology and this shipwreck in particular have become a very important aspect in the Dutch history and have led to an enlarged interest of the public into maritime archaeology.
This large interest has already helped increase the awareness of the deterorioration of maritime archaeology and it will hopefully in the future also help with the with the preservation of this and other shipwrecks as well as other important aspects within maritime heritage.
A contribution of Fiep Korstanje