In 1625 the VOC-ship Schoonhoven under the command of captain Cornelis Hartman, sailed from Holland to the East Indies. On the evening of January 23rd 1626, it sailed near Melides, Portugal. Darkness was setting in and the ship was hampered by a violent storm. Due to the very high and powerful waves crashing on and breaking over the ship, she run aground and quickly sunk. On what was then a very remote location, a Crown officer, in charge of cutting wood for the Indian naus, witnessed the event.
According to the Portuguese and Dutch archives, more than 30.000 silver coins were lost, as well as 11 anchors and 16 cannons. Judging from accounts of the time, hull bottoms together with the heavier items such as ballast, canons, anchors, bullion and coinage, quickly disappeared from sight and were never recovered by the salvors at that time.
We have been working hard studying the archival records. This research has been successful as we have been able to pinpoint the area of the shipwreck to ca. 6 square kilometers. We are planning to start the actual search for the Schoonhoven in September 2014. We hope to finish the project before the winter of 2014. After that we will start writing for the publication.
Besides funding from Universities and the Maritime Program of the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency, the team is raising money through Crowdfunding. Please have a look at www.commonsites.net where you can find all the details of this exiting project.