Archaelogists research 1619 shipwreck off Bermuda


By John Bordsen - Post Gazette

Piotr Bojakowski, 32, has been working in Bermuda for about a year as an archaeologist and conservator at the National Museum of Bermuda. We interviewed this native of Poland who has been researching the wreck of the Warwick, a 17th-century ship.

Q: What's the story on the wreck ?

A: In October 1619, the Warwick came to Bermuda with colonists and cargo; it was a stopping point for the English ship, which was bound for Jamestown in Virginia. The ship was here about a month, offloading some colonists and food and preparing to leave. But on Nov. 20, according to chronicles, a hurricane struck Bermuda.

The Warwick's crew was prepped, but the moorings gave way and the ship crashed into the reefs and rocks surrounding the anchorage, one of the best inside Castle Harbour.

The ship was completely lost -- sunk with everything it still had on board. The governor of Bermuda, Capt. Nathaniel Butler, had been on board; he had a journal and wrote down events day after day. So we had very good data about the Warwick's location.

Q: You weren't sure where it was ? 

A: This is one large bay. Everyone knew it was there ... but not exactly where the remains were.

Q: Over almost 400 years, there weren't "Look what I found!" discoveries ? 

A: People started salvaging cargo and cannons right away. Butler came to the site a year later and recovered at least three cannon and barrels of beer.

The following year, five more cannon and more provisions were recovered. The cannon went to the newly constructed Southampton port at the mouth of the harbor.

The ship belonged to the Virginia and Bermuda Company, so it was sort of protected.

We know Butler issued a proclamation that everything looted had to be returned as the owners demanded. The only official salvage was by Butler.

Full story...

Bermuda the Warwick Piotr Bojakowski National Museum of Bermuda Virginia and Bermuda Company