Hoaxes and Folklore: Inscriptions Associated with the Vergulde Draak (1656) and Zuiddorp (1712) Shipwrecking Events

Wendy Van Duivenvoorde, Mark Polzer, Peter Downes

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article discusses two inscriptions thought to be associated with wrecks of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) ships Vergulde Draak and Zuiddorp, off the Western Australian coastline. We evaluate their authenticity using comparative studies with similar contemporaneous Dutch inscriptions, placing them within the broader context of pseudoarchaeology and the public preoccupation surrounding shipwrecks. The morphology and manufacture of the lettering argues against a 17th or 18th century provenance. Further, photographic records of the Zuiddorp site indicate that its associated inscription is modern. We argue these inscriptions were likely attempts by enthusiasts to 'participate' in the shipwrecking stories, or to claim some recognition with regards to the wrecks. Whatever the reasons, they have been used as evidence to support unorthodox hypotheses about the shipwrecks' survivors, and serve to keep these theories alive in the public imagination.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-65
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustralian Archaeology
    Volume77
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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