Finisterre Shipwreck Survey

The Ribadeo ship: a 16th century galleon? (Part I)

By November 6, 2012February 6th, 2017No Comments

During the past field season, the Finisterre team also conducted the preliminary assessment of an unknown 16th century shipwreck found in the Ribadeo Inlet, which is also in the Galicia region (fig.1).

Figure 1. Location of Ribadeo ship.

Figure 1. Location of Ribadeo ship.

This shipwreck was discovered earlier last year during a routine dredging of Ribadeo’s inlet canal. As the dredging was being monitored by an underwater archaeologist, Miguel San Claudio, the shipwreck could be detected before being damaged by the dredge (fig. 2). The remains discovered indicated that it was probably a 16th century ship. Since the main objective of the Finisterre Project team is the study the remains of 16th century shipwrecks. As such, we decided to include the new Ribadeo’s shipwreck in our project.

Figure 2. Multibeam image of the shipwreck remains (Image: Miguel San Claudio).

Figure 2. Multibeam image of the shipwreck remains (Image: Miguel San Claudio).

During two weeks the archaeological team members surveyed and mapped the remains of what it seemed a 16th century shipwreck sank in the inlet of Ribadeo, besides the canal to access the port of the town.

Figure 3. Bow section components (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Figure 3. Bow section components (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Two or three dives were conducted on daily bases in the shipwreck in order to survey and map the remains. It seemed that the ship was preserved from bow to stern although is covered by a thick layer of sand carried out by the tidal currents. That meant that the ship was only partially visible although different parts of the hull can be identified.

Figure 4. Futtocks and Stringer on Starboard side near the Stern.

Figure 4. Futtocks and Stringer on Starboard side near the Stern.

During the survey, it was possible to identify a fragment of the stem (fig. 3), hull planking (fig. 3), futtocks (fig. 3), stringers (fig. 3-4), and bulkheads (fig. 5).

Figure 5. Possible bulkhead (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Figure 5. Possible bulkhead (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Figure 6. Cannon stone shots (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Figure 6. Cannon stone shots (Photo: Jose Casaban).

In addition, cannon stone shots of 5 different calibers were also recorded in different locations of the shipwreck (fig. 6). Five different cannon shots, one of each caliber, were recovered for further studio (fig. 7).

Figure 7. Different calibers of stone shots (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Figure 7. Different calibers of stone shots (Photo: Jose Casaban).

In the same way, three bronze breech-blocks were also located, mapped, and raised since they were at risk of being looted (fig. 8).

Figure 8. Location of the bronze breech-blocks (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Figure 8. Location of the bronze breech-blocks (Photo: Jose Casaban).

The breech-blocks are currently being conserved in order to study them (fig. 9).

Figure 9. Bronze breech-block (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Figure 9. Bronze breech-block (Photo: Jose Casaban).

Do not miss the second part of the Ribadeo ship. Soon here, at the INA Blogs!

The Finisterre Team