Remains of victims of ancient shipwreck are discovered in Australia

Remains of victims of ancient shipwreck are discovered in Australia West Magazine

A team of researchers from Australia discovered 12 graves containing the remains of victims of the Dutch East India Company shipwreck that would have occurred near the Indian Ocean in 1629. This was done using coordinates created by the fishermen of the time. A Journal of Historical Archaeology published the study on May 4th.

Scientists conducted archaeological work in the area between 2014 and 2019, led by archaeologists from the University of Western Australia and the Museum of Western Australia.


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In all, researchers uncovered the remains of 12 victims buried in individual and mass graves, as well as evidence of a struggle between survivors and a group of rioters.

The find provides information about the treatment and burial practices of the victims. The graves were located in the central part of Beacon Island, also known as the Batavia Cemetery due to the numerous Batavia bodies found on the island in the past.

Bones found on Beacon Island, Australia | Photo: Disclosure/Facebook/University of Western Australia

The details of the shipwreck

The incident became known about 20 years later, in 1647, when Jan Jansz published the diaries of Francisco Pelsaert, one of the ship’s captains. Nine editions were printed, the last appearing in 1664.

The ship was scheduled to head to Jakarta, Indonesia, and had about 340 people on board. The disaster is one of the most famous and significant in Australian history, in which the largest number of bodies was found.

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“In addition to the discoveries underwater, the discoveries on land added to our understanding of the survivors’ behavioral responses, including their initial movement from the wreck to nearby islands, the struggles they faced, and the shift in power dynamics between mutineers and survivors.” ” “, he said. Author and Professor Alistair Paterson of UWA School of Social Sciences and the Oceans Institute of Australia.

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