Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wreck of the Gottfried: mummies, a sarcophagus, canopic jars and more

A cargo list for the doomed Gottfried suggests that there were 97 crates of Egyptian treasures onboard. As already reported, six or seven mummies in their coffins were washed ashore following the sinking of the vessel on 12th March 1822 in the River Elbe, between Cuxhaven and Neuhaus.

It appears that these coffins were then initially buried because it was feared by locals they might carry plague. Later they were dug up and sold at auction in Hamburg on 4th September 1822.

Where these mummies and coffins - complete with hieroglyphs - went remains a mystery. It has been suggested that these mummies date to 1,900 BC and that they had been stacked on the deck of the ship.

It also appears that an Arab tent and manuscripts in Arabic were also washed ashore. These too have vanished.

Meanwhile, a cargo list for the Gottfried - under the command of Captain Heinrich Jakob Reisbeck - suggests that other artifcats on the ship included a granite sarcophagus (possible from the Saqqara necropolis and perhaps around 4,300 years old), hundreds of pillars, as many vases of alabaster, columns, altars, tablets, statues and stone canopic jars.

June 2010 saw the last official search for the wrecksite. It was authorised by the Archäologische Landesamt Schleswig-Holstein (Archaeological State Office of Schleswig-Holstein) and carried out by the Institut für Küstenforschung ( Institute for Coastal Research), located in Geesthacht. Seabed surveys were carried out by Rostock-based Innomar Technologie GmbH, specialists in underwater acoustic systems. What these surveys revealed remains unknown. I have contacted the company to see if they will release any information.

The search was filmed by Caligari Film GmbH for use in a documentary of the Gottfried for broadcast at some future date by ZDF, the German public-service television network.

2 comments:

  1. It might well be worth the effort to see if you can obtain more information on and perhaps a catalogue of the 'Versunken in Der Elbe' exhibition at the Natureum Niederelbe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It might well be worth the effort to see if you can obtain more information on and perhaps a catalogue of the 'Versunken in Der Elbe' exhibition at the Natureum Niederelbe.

    ReplyDelete

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