Thursday 18 August 2022

Shrimp fishers catch pristine 17th century wooden head

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A crew of shrimp fishermen made an unusual catch earlier this week when they pulled up a 17th century wooden head which may have formed part of the adornments of a large ship.

The fisherman caught the head, which is in pristine condition, in their nets when fishing off the coast of the Wadden island of Texel on Monday morning. Crew member Victor Ayal put the find on Twitter, sparking a lively discussion about its possible origin, from the work of Vikings to that of Northern European shipbuilders.

However, according to archaeologist Michiel Bartels, the head most likely dates from the 17th century. One of the clues is the man’s Frygian hat which became a symbol of freedom during the 80 Years’ War.

‘In the 17th century the Dutch depicted the freedom fighters of the time wearing this type of hat as a sign of regaining their independence from Spain,’ he told local paper the Leeuwarder Courant.

The head is made of oak, a very sturdy material, but prone to being eaten by shipworm which proliferate in the Wadden Sea. ‘They could have devoured this head within two years but it was stuck in the sea floor and they couldn’t get to it, Bartels said.

The fishermen, who christened the head ‘Barry’ for unknown reasons, have said the site may yield more finds. ‘We could find an entire ship, who knows,’ Ayal said.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.