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stepping stones of maritime history


In 2004, a dredger hit an 18th-century shipwreck, upon which thousands of artifacts washed up on Lewes Beach, Delaware. In total, an estimated 40,000 artifacts have been recovered by archaeologists from the Delaware Department of State Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, as well as private individuals who donated their finds to the DDoS.

In 2006 DDoS ordered Southeastern Archaeological Research to execute remote sensing research on the wreck. By then it was known as the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck (RIS). On November 16, 2006 the location of the wreck was included in the National Register of Historic Places.



The original name of the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck is still not known. Between 1772 and 1800, over 30 ships were wrecked near Lewes. As stated by Southeastern Archaeological Research, there are clues that the RIS very well could be the Maria Johanna.

In the Fall of 2019, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands commissioned Bureau Hak to investigate historic sources in the Netherlands in order to find information about the ship Maria Johanna, Captain Pieter Tjallings Bonk, the owner(s) of the vessel, crew, cargo and final voyage. See the references for the report with the results of the archival research in Dutch historic sources.


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