Dutch Divers Recover Exquisite 17th-Century Silk Gown From Shipwreck

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

In August of 2014, marine archaeologists in the Netherlands made what was probably the most startling find of the decade.

Divers off the coast of the island of Texel recovered a remarkably preserved treasure trove dating back to the 17th century. Because the artifacts were kept locked down in the sand for over four centuries, they were barely damaged.

The centerpiece of this shocking discovery was a beautiful gold gown woven with damask silk. Experts suspect that it very likely belonged to a lady-in-waiting in the court of King Charles I, as several other belongings bear the official emblem of the king.

Just like this 1,500-year-old mummy that was unearthed in the Mongolian mountains, these undersea artifacts completely wowed historians with their impeccable condition.

The artifacts are currently being exhibited in the Kaap Skil Museum, and will soon be transported to a conservation center for further examination.

Scroll down to see this intricately preserved dress from history, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

Back in August 2014, marine archaeologists in the Netherlands recovered a series of remarkably preserved artifacts dating back to the 17th century.

They belonged to a ship that had sunk nearly 400 years ago to the bottom of the Wadden Sea, which borders the coast of northwestern Europe.

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

Among these long-lost items was a gorgeous gown woven of damask silk, antique textiles, and other prized possessions, including a velvet embroidered purse, a perfume ball, a lice comb, stockings, and a leather-bound book.

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

The treasure trove is considered to be one of the most historically significant maritime discoveries ever made in Europe.

All of the objects are still in such incredible shape because they have been completely locked and protected in sand for four centuries.

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

The silk gown is thought to have been used for everyday wear, as it resembles the dress style depicted in paintings of the late Elizabethan era.

It has loose-fitting sleeves, a bodice, an upright collar, sleeve caps, and a pleated skirt that has a front opening.

The dress, along with many of the objects found in the wreck, very likely belonged to a woman of the wealthy upper classes.

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

Some sources believe that the dress belonged to the Scottish Jean Ker, the Countess of Roxburghe, who was once appointed as governess in King Charles I’s household, and who had accompanied Queen Henrietta Maria on her many travels.

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

Many of the belongings were stamped with the emblem of King Charles I, which further suggests that the owner was tied to royalty.

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

Experts from the Rijksmuseum, the University of Amsterdam have carefully examined the artifacts, and have identified Italian pottery, a silver gilt vessel, a red velvet pouch embroidered with silver thread, a two-sided lice comb made of cow horn (shown below), and pomanders (or “perfume balls” that held sweet-smelling flowers and herbs).

Dutch shipwreck silk gown

All cultural and historical heritage experts and researchers agree that the textiles found in the shipwreck are among the most fascinating in the world.

The dress, along with the other intricately designed, centuries-old objects, can give us an incredible glimpse into the lives of those in 17th-century high society.

The artifacts are currently on display at the Kaap Skil Museum on the island of Texel.

After the end of the exhibition, they will be transported to an archaeology and conservation center for further study.

Please SHARE if you found the remarkable finds absolutely fascinating!