A 400-year-old ship figurehead from the Eighty Years War was snagged by Dutch shrimpers!

An exceptionally well-preserved ship figurehead, in the form of a wooden statue, was “caught” by a shrimp boat crew off the coast of Texel Island in the Dutch Wadden Islands. This super-rare ship figurehead example was in mint condition, and adorned with a special headdress, called a Phrygian cap, which was a strong reference to emancipation from slavery, and thus liberty and independence.

Seemingly submerged since the 17th century, it is thought that the ship figurehead came from a warship that sank during the Dutch Eighty Years’ War with the Spanish from 1566/8-1648 AD. The find was excitedly shared by a crew member on Twitter, in which he also asked for more information about its origins and history.

The crew of shrimp boat Wieringer 22 found the exceptional ship figurehead in their fishing nets, off the coast of the Dutch Wadden Islands (or Frisian Islands). Made of solid oak , the statue’s powerful head and face was luckily buried so deep into the sea floor that it completely escaped deterioration or shipworm degradation.

The find has been named by the crew members as “Barry.” It has been termed a “very special discovery” by Michiel Bartels, a municipal archaeologist from the region, who dated the statue to the Eighty Years War.

The sea floor sediment acted as a near-perfect preservation capsule for the ship figurehead, preventing marine organisms from feeding on the wood, and general long-submersion waterlog damage. On the advice of marine archaeologists, the head was placed by the crew in an eel tub filled with seawater, preventing the wood from drying out and deteriorating, reported Danish daily Leeuwarder Courant .

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