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Users can partake in a three-minute virtual dive of a 360-year-old shipwreck

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You can now explore 360-year-old shipwreck without leaving your home through a virtual reality video – and archaeologists say you might even spot something they missed

  • Dutch Melckmeyt ship sunk 360 years ago today
  • In honor of the anniversary, experts have created a virtually reality dive
  •  It is embed with a full photographic textured seabed and lasts three minutes

Technology is taking the public 39 feet into the deep sea to explore a Dutch shipwreck that sunk 360 years ago.

Australian archaeologists have developed a 360-degree view of the Melckmeyt or ‘Milkmaid’, which disappeared into the depths during a storm and rediscovered in 1992.

Users can partake in a three-minute virtual dive of the wreck, which is embed with a full photographic textured seabed – allowing the public to spot something experts may have missed.

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Australian archaeologists have developed a 360-degree view of the Melckmeyt or 'Milkmaid', which disappeared into the depths during a storm and rediscovered in 1992

Australian archaeologists have developed a 360-degree view of the Melckmeyt or ‘Milkmaid’, which disappeared into the depths during a storm and rediscovered in 1992

The virtual dive was a joint effort between Flinders University and the University of Iceland.

Melckmeyt was a Dutch merchant ship that found its way into a vicious storm while heading home to Amsterdam.

On October 16th, the ship wrecked in a remote harbor during a sudden storm.

The crew aboard attempted to save their ship over the next two days, but it eventually sunk to the depths of the sea, and took one life with it.

Two divers rediscovered the wreck in 1992 and the following year an underwater archaeological survey was carried out by the National Museum of Iceland. 

In 2016, a team of marine archaeologists led by Kevin Martin (PhD Candidate) returned to the wreck site to expand on the 1993 survey area.

To mark this anniversary, digital archaeology specialists at Flinders University have collaborated with maritime archaeologists at the University of Iceland to release a 360 degree virtual dive on the wreck.

This is a highly realistic virtual experience of the wreck and includes a digital reconstruction of how the ship might have appeared on the seabed moments after it sank

This is a highly realistic virtual experience of the wreck and includes a digital reconstruction of how the ship might have appeared on the seabed moments after it sank

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Melckmeyt is important as it is the oldest known and identified shipwreck in Icelandic waters and also the only shipwreck from the Danish trade monopoly period uncovered.

PHD candidate Kevin Martin from the University of Iceland said ‘The significance of this wreck is enormous for Iceland.’

‘As it is one of the oldest known historic wrecks in this part of the world, it shines a light on a fascinating period of Icelandic history, when Denmark ruled the island and had a monopoly over trade here for a period of 200 years.’

Two divers rediscovered the wreck in 1992 and the following year an underwater archaeological survey was carried out by the National Museum of Iceland

Two divers rediscovered the wreck in 1992 and the following year an underwater archaeological survey was carried out by the National Museum of Iceland

Users can partake in a three-minute virtual dive of the wreck, which is embed a full photographic textured seabed ¿ allowing the public to spot something experts had missed

Users can partake in a three-minute virtual dive of the wreck, which is embed a full photographic textured seabed – allowing the public to spot something experts had missed

Although recorded in the Icelandic annals, this event was largely forgotten until its rediscovery in 1992 by local divers Erlendur Guðmundsson and Sævar Árnason. In 2016 PHD candidate Kevin Martin from the University of Iceland returned to the wreck site to carry out a detailed high-resolution 3D survey with his team, including archaeologists from the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands

Melckmeyt was a Dutch merchant ship that found its way into a vicious storm while heading home to Amsterdam (pictured is a recreation of the ship)

Melckmeyt was a Dutch merchant ship that found its way into a vicious storm while heading home to Amsterdam (pictured is a recreation of the ship)

‘We have also been able to directly embed a 3D survey of the seabed with full photographic texture. In theory, a member of the public viewing this might even spot something on the wreck that we have missed during our dives on it!’

PHD candidate in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University, John McCarthycreated the virtual dive.

‘Funding from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canberra allowed me to travel from Australia to the Netherlands to make a 3D scan of a rare ship model from the 17th century, supporting the most authentic reconstruction of the ship possible. We have even based the stern painting on a real contemporary Dutch painting, Vermeer’s’ famous ‘Milkmaid’, painted just one year before the ship was wrecked.’

 

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