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Maritime archaeologist says found 1647 shipwreck on Blouberg’s shores

Historian Bruno Werz believes the wreck of the Dutch East India Company ship, The Haarlem, is off the coast of Blouberg.

An excavator pictured at Bloubergstrand. Maritime archeologist and historian Bruno Werz says he is 95% sure that they have found South Africa’s most significant shipwreck, The Haarlem, on Blouberg's shores. Picture: AIMURE/Bruno Werz

CAPE TOWN - A maritime archaeologist believes he’s found a piece of Cape Town history that's been hidden for centuries.

Historian Bruno Werz believes the wreck of the Dutch East India Company ship, The Haarlem, is off the coast of Blouberg.

Werz said the discovery came from extensive collaboration with a team of experts.

“We had people from different people from various backgrounds. It was a diverse team. It’s been a great pleasure to work with the team.”

The ship ran aground off Table Bay in 1647, leaving its crew stranded. They set up a makeshift camp that led to the establishment of a refreshment station for passing ships.

“Based on the evidence put together, we are convinced that we have the location of the wreckage.”