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In search of containers lost at sea, they discover the most ancient shipwreck of the netherlands

A discovery as spectacular as fortuitous! The team of researcher Dutch was trying to locate containers lost in January in the North sea. In the end, it is on the wreck of a vessel of the early Sixteenth century they have fallen, said Wednesday the ministry of Education, Culture and Science. “This is the oldest wreck ever discovered in the netherlands’ waters,” said the ministry in a press release.

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The remains of the building have been discovered during a search for containers lost by the MSC Zoe, one of the largest container carriers in the world, in the night of 1 to 2 January off the coast of the Wadden islands (north). Nearly 350 containers had gone overboard. Dozens of them had washed up on the beaches, but most had been lost at sea.

Dealers at the colossal fortune

When searching in the waters of the North sea, “copper plates and wooden beams have been uncovered, which has led immediately to the opening of an archaeological investigation”, explained the ministry. The researchers concluded that the timber beams from a ship hull smooth, probably 30 metres long, which carried copper plates, he said.

The copper plates bear marks of the family Fugger, of the wealthy merchants who played a key role in the election of Charles Quint. KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP

studies show that the timber has been cut off in 1536 and that the ship was built around 1540 to the present netherlands, which were at that time part of the empire of Charles Quint. The copper plates are dated around the same period. “The peculiarity is that the plates bear marks of the family Fugger. In the Sixteenth century, the family Fugger held the monopoly of the production of copper. This discovery has a very high cultural value and archaeological”, stressed the ministry.

Settled in Augsburg, in Bavaria, the Fuggers were merchants and bankers to the colossal fortune, which have played a key role in the election in 1519 of Charles V as Emperor, to the detriment of François Ier.

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The minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, has welcomed a “spectacular discovery” and an “enrichment of the heritage netherlands”. Before concluding: “I am very curious to know what additional information will rise to the surface.”

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