CAPE TOWN – 16 August 2019 – During a press conference on Friday the 16th of August, maritime archaeologist and historian Dr Bruno Werz and a panel of other experts presented an overview of recent developments in the search for the shipwreck of ‘Haarlem’. This has resulted in the location of a site that, based on the currently available evidence, in all likelihood contains the wreck of this ship. The site, recorded as Site F, is situated just offshore, about 2 m underwater and at a depth of about 3 to 4 m below the sea bed, close to the Dolphin Beach Hotel in Table View, Cape Town. See the map below.
“No shipping disaster world-wide had ever suchan impact on the history of an entire nation”
Different types of information obtained from archival documents, cartographic research, geological information and geophysical led to this conclusion. Based on the combined results of these different research approaches, there is a chance of 95 % that the location of the wreck of ‘Haarlem’ has been found. The ultimate proof will be the discovery of 19 iron cannon and 4 iron anchors, as it has been recorded that these items were left behind when the wreck was abandoned. Only future excavation can tell.
On 25 March 1647 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship ‘Nieuw Haarlem’ or ‘Haarlem’ wrecked in Table Bay, South Africa. The events that followed had far-reaching consequences for the history of this country. Of the people on board, 58 were repatriated by accompanying ships soon after the incident, but 62 men were left behind to try and salvage as much as was possible. They found refuge in a makeshift camp where they lived for about one year. During their stay, the men from ‘Haarlem’ came into contact with indigenous people.
Upon returning to the Dutch Republic, they reported favourably of their experiences. As a result, VOC management decided to establish a stopover for their ships. This station, that became known as the ‘Tavern of the Seas’, later developed into the City of Cape Town.
“The wrecking of ‘Haarlem’ can be regarded as the catalyst that created not only Cape Town, but also current multiracial and multicultural South African society”
Since 1989, a research project is underway to search for the shipwreck and survivor camp. The objective is to locate both sites and, once found, to excavate them according to the highest achievable standards. Permission for the project has been obtained from the relevant authorities. The project is entirely supported by sponsors and volunteers.
For further information, please see http://www.aimure.org or contact Dr Bruno Werz at firstname.lastname@example.org