The #Rooswijk1740 project not only focuses on the archaeological work underwater, but also on capacity building, awareness raising and historical research. For the latter we cooperate with the International Institute of Social History (IISG) in Amsterdam. The research – which started before the diving part of the project – focuses on several issues, namely:
- Silver smuggling on VOC ships
- Information about the ship, its construction and the way it was laid out on the inside
- Information about the cargo the Rooswijk took on its trip
- Information on the crew
- Information about money or other objects given by third parties to the people on board of the ship
A first part of the research executed by the IISG is well on its way. This first part has been an exploratory research, not only in order to fill in the gap of knowledge, but also to identify other ways of doing even more research in a later stage.
Specific focus in this part has been to find information on the construction of the Rooswijk, its inventory and cargo and its crew. A report is soon to be finalized and published.
The cooperation with Matthias van Rossum, Jan Lucassen and Mike de Windt has been wonderful and during excavations regular contact has helped to deepen the knowledge on the Rooswijk wreck massively.
An accidental but wonderful cooperation was set up with Willem-Jan van Grondelle and Els Vermij. While looking for information about a far relative of Willem-Jan in the notarial archives of the city of Rotterdam, they found a deed relating to this relative’s brother-in-law, Barend Lont. Barend Lont turned out to have been first mate on the Rooswijk.
After our initial announcement in the press that we were going to excavate the Rooswijk, they contacted us and offered to help with the historical research. Barend Lont now comes to life due to the amount of information they found in the archives about him and his family. Willem-Jan and Els also closely work together with the IISG.
Historical research as a framework
The historical research is an important part of the #Rooswijk1740 project as it provides us with the framework, the context of our archaeological research and tells us stories about ship and crew members that cannot be told through the archaeological research.