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Research Groningen Institute of Archaeology Research Research groups GIA

The Dutch Golden Age (1550-1700) and the role of inland shipping on the Zuiderzee

Wouter Waldus
Wouter Waldus

Drs. Wouter Waldus


Promotor: Prof. dr. A.F.L. van Holk

Co-promotor: Prof. dr. D.C.M. Raemaekers

Period of employment: 2014-2017

Financed by: Nieuwland Erfgoedcentrum Lelystad

Project description:

The spectacular economic growth during the Dutch Golden age (1550-1700) has been a prominent research topic of various (inter)national historians since the nineteenth century. Inland shipping and inland markets have never played a significant role in this debate, since hardly any substantial written evidence on the subject is available. Due to favorable conservation circumstances and due to large scale land reclamation projects in the former Zuiderzee-area, a large database of more than 450 shipwrecks has been assembled over various generations of archaeologists since the 1940’s. These wrecks date from the late thirteenth century AD until the first decades of the twentieth century. The well preserved shipwrecks allow a maritime historical archaeological approach to the never explored question of the role of inland shipping to the economic developments during the Dutch Golden Age. Since the subject of inland shipping is extensive and the variation of types of shipping is large, focus will be laid on wrecks of ships that were involved in peat transport. Peat was used as the principle combustible in pre modern and early modern Dutch society and this case study allows an approach of the process of peat extraction, transport and use. For this reason shipwrecks that date between 1550-1700 will be interpreted as an element in a maritime cultural landscape in which the Zuiderzee formed the central maritime traffic square. On a more abstract theoretical level, the research focuses on interpreting shipwrecks as qualitative archaeological data and explores the possibilities of shipwreck interpretation in the complex field of maritime historical archeology.

Last modified:04 August 2015 11.36 a.m.