In 2017 and 2018 the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), Historic England and MSDS Marine undertook a high profile excavation on the Rooswijk protected wreck site. The Rooswijk was a Dutch East Indiaman lost 279 years ago today 10th January 1740, on the Goodwin Sands and until now the wreck was concealed beneath the waves, hidden to all but a small number of divers. However, Historic England commissioned MSDS Marine to create a virtual trail of the wreck to allow divers and non-divers alike to explore this fascinating site.
Working with ArtasMedia and CyanSub, the trail was created using archival evidence, geophysical surveys, underwater photos and footage and cutting edge computer generated imagery. This evidence has been pieced together to bring the site to life and give the public a glimpse of what it is like to dive the wreck. New archaeological finds have been made available in 3D and users can explore a model of the wreck showing where they were found.
As a Dutch vessel lost in English territorial waters the Rooswijk is part of Europe’s shared maritime cultural heritage and to recognise this, the trail is the first from Historic England to be released in two languages, English and Dutch. The tour is also the first to take viewers through the archaeological process from discovery to post-excavation. Archaeological conservators and specialists have provided video interviews talking about their work on material from the site and the secrets they can reveal once in the laboratory.
Hefin Meara, Marine Archaeologist at Historic England said: “We are delighted to have been able to bring this fascinating wreck to life. The project has shown that underwater archaeology can be accessible to all, allowing us to dive into history from the comfort of our own home.”
Martijn Manders, manager of the international maritime heritage programme at the RCE and the Project Leader on the #Rooswijk1740 project, said: ‘Wrecks such as the Rooswijk are part of the shared cultural maritime heritage across Europe and it’s important that cultural heritage agencies are able to work together to ensure that sites like this are protected, researched, understood and appreciated by all. This virtual trail helps ensure that the public are able to understand and enjoy the wreck of the Rooswijk’.
Alison James, MSDS Marine, said, ‘Access for the public to protected wreck sites such as the Rooswijk is something that is really important as they are a shared asset for everyone to enjoy, not just the archaeological community. Virtual access such as on this trail incredibly important as it allows people to discover the site for themselves irrespective of their ability to physically access the site”.
For people who want to view the material in person there will be another site open day held on the 3rd March 2019 in the East Midlands. Find out more here:
The Rooswijk is a Protected Wreck site and can only be visited with a licence, available from Historic England:
Visit the virtual wreck tour at: https://www.cloudtour.tv/Rooswijk
Download images at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zv8gojcmjtl2oqn/AADmfQIAeN00Nl9wMJT7lPbla?dl=0
3D images are available here: