Wrecks & shipfinds of Western & inland Europe
The list is sorted by the time of sinking
- Pesse logboat, Netherlands. Found on land, dated to ca 6300-7000 BC. 3 m
long and made of pine tree. Described in an article by Detlev Ellmers in The Earliest Ships
(Conway Maritime Press 1996).
Logboats of French inland. Three different finds have been made in the Seine valley area near
Paris. The finds were made between 1984 and 1994. They are C14 dated to between 6400 and 7200 BC.
Replicas have been made by GRAS. Ref Philippe Bonnin: Découverte de
deux pirogues monoxyles mésolithiques entre Corbeil-Essonnes (Essonne) et Melun (Seine-et-Marne).
logboat, Netherlands. Excavated on land in 1998, 5.5 m long, dated to c 5000 BC.
- Huelva River find. In 1923 bronze objects from a ship cargo was found when dredging the estuary
of the Huelva River, Spain, northwest of Gibraltar. The finds are dated to 7th century BC. Ref Kenneth
Hudson: The Book of Shipwrecks (Macmillan 1979).
- Lipe riverboat.
Found in the Ljubljana Moor in Slovenia in 1891. The 30 m long flat-bottomed barge was located under 4 m
of turf where once had been a riverbed.
- The Oberstimm
ships. In 1986 two Roman ships were found near the Roman fort Oberstimm near Ingolstadt, Germany.
The bottoms of both are preserved to their full lengths 14-15 m. Dendro-dated to 90-100 AD. Being
conserved at the Museum für Antike Schiffahrt, Mainz.
- Bevaix Boat. Lake Neuchatel,
Switzerland. Found in 1970. Roman 4 m long boat made of oak, dated to 2nd century AD.
- Lecker Au logboat. Parts were found 1953 in the Lecker Creek,
Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Original length may have been 13 m. There are traces of a mast foot, so it
probably had sail. C14 dated to 160±44 AD. Ref Ellmers: Frühmittelalterliche Handelsshiffahrt in
Mittel- und Nordeuropa.
- Bruges boat,
Belgium. Found when digging a canal in 1899. Radiocarbon dated to ca 200 AD. It was
probably Roman or Celtic, carvel-built, with side rudder, mast and sail.
- The Zwammerdam Barges. Remains of at least three Roman river barges found in the Netherlands.
Found in 1972 near the Roman army camp Nigrum Pullum.
The ships were flat-bottomed and 20-35 m long. Ref Skyllis 2/2001
Roman warships in Mainz, Germany. Found in 1981-85 in the city's old harbour. Dated to late 3rd
and 4th centuries AD. Exhibited in the Museum für Antike Schiffahrt. Photo
of full-scale reconstruction courtesy the museum. Ref IJNA 22.2 1993.
- Utrecht ship. Found during dredging
in the Rhine riverbed in 1930. Ca 17 m long. Dated to 790 ± 50 AD. Ref British Museum Encyclopaedia of
Underwater and Maritime Archaeology.
- Riverboat from the time of
Charlemagne. Found in 1993 in the Rhine near Kalkar and Xanten, Nordrhein-Westfalen. 14 m long
flat-bottomed barge, investigated by Julia Cauder-Opladen, dendrodated to 802+/-5 AD. Ref: Archäologie
im Rheinland 1993 (Köln 1994) 98 - 99, Archäologie in Deutschland 4/1993, Archäologie in
- NZ 43. Late medieval merchant ship, possibly a cog, 9 m
long, dated to c 1300 AD, found in 1979 in the drained Zuidersee in the Netherlands.
- Flat-bottomed cargo ship, Lake Constance. This 18
m long hull was salvaged in 1991 by Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Dated to 1st half of 14th
- The Kampen Cog, south of Flevoland, Netherlands. Wreck number OZ36, investigated on
land in 1983. A replica is based on this ship
- Bremen cog, Germany, dendro
dated to 1380 AD. Found in 1962, excavated and lifted in one piece. The intact hull is 15.5 m long.
Restored and displayed at the Schiffahrtsmuseum, Bremerhaven, Germany. Was conserved with PEG during 10
years until 2000. A full-scale replica has been built.
Reconstruction photo by J. S. Illsley. Ref Skalk 2/77,
Skyllis 1/2000, and IJNA 29.9.2000.
Wrac'h 1, Finistère, Bretagne, France. Located in 1985, clinker-built and dated to late 14th or
early 15th century.
- Cais do Sodré. Portuguese late 15th century
ship. Discovered in Lisbon during a tunnel construction.
- Nossa Senhora dos Mártires.
Portuguese nao sunk in 1606. Probably identical to one of the shipwrecks found at São Julião da Barra,
Portugal. Recently excavated.
- Zeerobbe, Dutch East Indiaman. She
was leased to commander Tromp as an Admiralty ship, saw action against the second Spanish Armada in 1639
and went down in the Texel roads early in 1640. The likely remains of the broadside were investigated in
- Burgzand Noord 10. Located by the Dutch
authority ROB/NISA in the 1990s on 10 m depth. In the bottom mud in the Wadden Lake off Amsterdam, the
remains are well preserved. It is a 40 m long merchant ship dated to c 1650.
- Le Soleil Royal. French 72 gun warship
built in Brest in 1669. In 1692 she was under the command of Admiral de Tourville. At the battle of
Barfleur, near Cherbourg, she was sunk with several other ships. Some of these wrecks have been
excavated by Michel l'Hour.
- HMS Sussex.
English 80-gun warship sunk in storm in 1694 off Gibraltar. Only 2 of the 550 men survived. Loaded with
plenty of gold and possibly located on 900 m depth by Odyssey Marine
- The Galleons in the Vigo Bay,
Spain. In 1702 a large English-Dutch navy attacked a French unit and the anchored Spanish fleet unloading
silver. Several ships were sunk, perhaps still loaded with silver. But following salvage attempts
only resulted in plenty of wreckage and very little treasure. Possibly, all silver was unloaded before or
during the battle. Ref Trésors Engloutis by Pierre de Latil & Jean Rivoire.
- The Wreck of la Natière, Saint-Malo, France. In 1995
the remains of an early 18th century privateer ship was found. Being investigated and presented with a
- 't Vliegent Hart. Dutch
VOC ship sunk in 1735 off the Dutch coast, located in 1981. Results from recent excavations are displayed
in the Stedelijk Museum in Vlissingen. A new museum is planned for this shipwreck.
- Le Juste. French 70-gun warship that was badly damaged in the Quiberon Bay battle on 21
November 1759. She retreated but finally sank in the Loire River. The well-reserved and intact hull was
discovered in the 1960s. Unfortunately the river was dredged in the 60s and 70s. In those days,
legislation and interest was limited, so much of the hull was chewed up by dredging machines. About 40
iron cannon were recovered, but not conserved and eventually destroyed. However, parts of the hull is
still on the river bottom (strong current & low visibility) and may some day be investigated. Ref
Jean-Yves Blot: Underwater Archaeology – Exploring the World Beneath the Sea
- l'Océan. French admiral flagship. Sunk in 1756 (or 1759?) at the coast of Algarve, Portugal.
Discovered and looted in the 1960s. What was left, was excavated by Francisco Alves in 1984 and 1991. The
wreck site now consists of impressively large iron anchors, cannon and concretions. It's open for
recreational divers. A very large model of the ship can be seen at the Musée de la Marine, Paris.
Photo of anchor by Francisco Alves. Ref O Arqueólogo Português serie IV vol 8/10 1990-92.
San Pedro De Alcantara. Spanish 64 gun warship
sunk off Peniche, Portugal, in 1786 loaded with gold, silver, copper and Peruvian prisoners. Most of the
cargo was salvaged already in 1786. Investigated since 1988. Swedish abstract.
- Le Séduisant. French
74 gun warship. Built in 1782 by shipwright J.M.B. Coulomb,
in the Mediterranean port of Toulon. It measured 173.3 feet in length and had a beam of 43.7 feet. Sunk in
1796 off Bretagne. The remains were located in 1986. Objects from the ship recovered by Michel Cloâtre are
displayed at the Musée de la Marine, Paris.
- Lutine. 32 gun frigate. Transporting 1000
gold bars and 500 silver bars from England to Texel and Hamburg 1799. Grounded on a sand bank, capsized
and sunk off Terschelling, which at the time was enemy territory. Only one man survived. The gold was
partially salvaged in 1801 and in 1858-60. The remainder of the cargo is still in the wreck, covered by a
thick sand layer. Perhaps she will be excavated in the future, and not only for the gold. If so, any gold
found will be claimed by Lloyd's, and any archaeological investigation requires permission by Dutch
authorities. Ref Trésors Engloutis by Pierre de Latil & Jean Rivoire.
- Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. Spanish frigate sunk off the
Algarve coast, Portugal, in 1804. Sought by treasure hunters. Ref Revista Portuguesa de Arqueologia
- Santissima Trinidad. This
was the Spanish admiral ship and the largest battleship in the world. She was built by
shipbuilder Matthew Mullan in 1769 and carried 140 guns. During the battle of
Trafalgar in 1805 she was captured by Nelson's fleet, and sank in storm during
attempts to tow her from Trafalgar, south of Cádiz,
Spain. She has not yet been located
- Hirondelle. Swiss side-wheel paddle steamer, built in 1856
and sunk in 1862 in the Geneva Lake. The wreck is on a slope at 40-60 m depth, very well preserved in the
- Jura. Passenger paddle steamer built in 1854 and sunk in 1864 in
the Bodensee Lake, between Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The ship lies well preserved on 36-38 m depth
but is rapidly being destroyed.
- CSS Alabama. Confederate warship, three-masted sail and steam barque built in 1862. This ship
tool 60 prize ships before she met her fate in 1854 at the hands of USS Kearsarge. Sunk in battle off
Cherbourg, French coast. The remaining fragments were located on 58 m depth in 1984-88 and excavated.
- Colombian. British steamer sunk in 1865 off
Ouissant Island, France, 3 survivors, located relatively well preserved on 60 m depth. Diving on the site
is only possible during short intervals between the turnings of the strong tidal current. Ref.
- Rhône. Swiss side-wheel paddle steamer, sunk
after a collision in 1883 in the Geneva Lake. This ship was a sister ship of l'Hirondelle.
Located perfectly preserved on 300 m depth.
- Thermopylae / Pedro
Nunes. Thermopylae was built as a composite wood/iron ship in 1868, the year before the Suez canal
opened. She and was one of the most famous clipper ships on the tea trade, once racing against the Cutty
Sark. Eventually she was bought by the Portuguese navy. Finally in 1907 she was a target ship sunk by a
torpedo during a demonstration. Portuguese archaeologists are now (1999) trying to locate the remains on
the sand bottom.
- HMS Charybdis. In October 1943 the German blockade runner
Münsterland had successfully escaped the American and English Navies in both the Pacific and Atlantic.
Then the cruiser HMS Chraybdis was sunk by German torpedoes, trying to stop the transport.
- SS Leopoldville. Allied troop transport headed for
Cherbourg. Sunk in December 1944 by German sub U-486. 1400 survived. The wreck was located by Clive
Cussler in 1984. It is designated a war grave.