OTR – Talk this Thursday – Revisiting Batavia

All are welcome for this week’s Off the Record lunchtime seminar!

Paterson, A. G. (2015). Revisiting Batavia: Recent excavations in the Abrolhos Island, Western Australia.

The Dutch East India Company vessel Batavia was wrecked on Morning Reef in the Houtman Abrolhos archipelago, Western Australia in 1629. It was the first Vereenigde Oostindishe Compagnie or VOC ship to be lost off the coast of the Southland. Over 200 people survived the initial wreck, making their way to several small coral islands near to the wreck, the largest of these being Batavia’s Graveyard, now known as Beacon Island. In the three and a half months before the arrival of the rescue vessel, the number of survivors was more than halved as a result of a particularly bloody mutiny by members of the crew, including a number of the officers. Since the 1970s the Western Australian Museum has pioneered underwater archaeological excavations centred on shipwrecked Dutch United East India vessels that passed through the Indian Ocean. The early work set the international benchmark for excavation and management of post-medieval and early modern wreck sites. Forty years on, the shipwrecks, associated terrestrial sites and artefact collections continue to be examined using new methodologies and technologies as part of the Australian Research Council project Shipwrecks of the Roaring Forties. This paper outlines work conducted on the terrestrial sites of the Batavia Mutiny including results from the 2015 excavations at Beacon and Long Islands.


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