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The Rooswijk was a ship belonging to the VOC (Dutch East India Company) that, according to recent, non-contemporary, news reports, sank in 1740.

Construction and service

According to the recent reports, the Rooswijk was built for the VOC "Chamber of Amsterdam" in 1737. On 9 January 1740, during its second journey to the east, it sank on the sand bank of Goodwin Sands, about 8 km from the British mainland. There were no known survivors. At the time, it was captained by Daniel Ronzieres.


Lying at a depth of about 24 m, the Rooswijk was discovered on the Goodwin Sands by an amateur diver in 2004. It lies in about 24 metres (79 ft) of water at the northeast end of Kellett Gut.

In December 2005, it was made public that between May and September of that year a team led by Rex Cowan had recovered some of the ship and its contents. This was done in secrecy to avoid attracting looters. Artifacts recovered included approximately one thousand bars of silver, gold coins and a mustard jar. When the VOC was disbanded in 1798, its possessions fell to the Batavian Republic, the legal successor of which is the current Dutch State, which therefore is entitled to the objects from the Rooswijk. They were presented to Junior Minister of Finance Joop Wijn in Plymouth on 11 December 2005.

The type of coins recovered were several hundred Mexican silver cobs of the 1720s and early 1730s and transitional "klippes" of 1733-1734, as well as many more hundreds of “pillar dollars” and a smattering of cobs from other mints.

The salvage operation has led to criticism from heritage organisations worldwide, as some of the international principles concerning the protection of archaeological heritage (Valetta Treaty 1992, UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001) were ignored.

The wreck site was designated as a protected wreck on 18 January 2007. Statutory Instrument 2007/61 defines the restricted area as a circle of radius 150 m centred on 51° 16.443' N 01° 34.537' E.


External links

  • English Heritage has a detailed archaeological report and other documents on its website.

Coordinates: 51°16′27″N 01°34′32″E / 51.27417°N 1.57556°E / 51.27417; 1.57556