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Zwaanendael Shipwreck Archaeology


The HMB DeBraak and Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, two of more than 200 shipwrecks that have littered the Atlantic and Delaware Bay, will be shown in the Zwaanendael Shipwreck Archaeology.

This event is free and will be held from 1030am to 4:30pm on Saturday, May 29 at the Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes. For more information call 302-645-1148 or visit the museum online at: history.delaware.gov/museums/zm/zm_main.shtml.

The event will also include hands-on activities for children to understand the science of archaeology by finding, analyzing, researching, and drawing artifacts. Shayne Murray, a Millsboro, Del., artist and Zwaanendael Museum historical interpreter, will demonstrate a stipple drawing. Stippling creates an image by applying small dots of a single color with a pen or brush.

HMB DeBraak was a Dutch ship that was captured and refitted by the British. The ship became separated from the convoy in the Atlantic and captured as it sailed near the American coast. In 1798, a Lewes pilot attempted to guide the ship into the harbor. A burst of wind hit the ship’s sails and rolled her on her side. Water rushed into the ship and the ship sank. The Spanish prisoners and the pilot were the only survivors. The salvaged ship was recovered 200 years later and the state of Delaware owns the recovered artifacts.

The Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, a commercial sailing ship, was found inadvertently during a beach replenishment program in the Delaware Bay in 2004. The artifacts found from the shipwreck — which include glass shards, ceramic fragments, bottles, shoe buckles, rifle trigger guards, tobacco pipes, plates, spoons, military miniatures, wide-mouth storage jars, and pieces of chamber pots — indicate that the vessel sank in the 1770s.