San Diego, Philippines (1600)

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Found and salvaged by the French treasure hunter Frank Goddio. It was recorded by a team of French state archaeologists.

Description of the Site

The bottom of this ship was amazingly preserved from stem to stern, covering an area of 26.75 by 8.80 m. False-keel, keel, keelson, maststep, sternpost, deadwoods, footwales and stringers, floors, first and second futtocks, top timbers, planking and ceiling were preserved together with the pump arrangements, stanchions and bulwarks.

Construction Features


Only the extremities of the keel were observed. It was 21 x 21 cm in section, cut of a Philippine tree (Calophyllum inophyllum) and 23.73 m ( 42 codos) long. Apparently it seated on a false-keel 30 cm sided and 15 cm molded. The together was fastened to the keelson through the keel and floors. No information on rabbets. There were couces on the bow and stern, this last one having a skeg. The stem was not preserved, but its source showed an angle with the keel. The sternpost raked 60º. No further dimensions are provided. The keelson is cut out of a single log of a Philippine tree (Terminalia microcarpa), is 17.50 m long and has a section between 20-25 cm sided and 25-35 cm molded. The maststep is an enlarged portion of the keelson 3.40 m long, 35 cm sided and 30 cm molded. The mortise is 31 cm long, 17 cm sided and 16.5 cm deep, and is situated towards the after end of the maststep, around 1.5 m abaft the two midship frames and 11.10 m before the after end of the keel.


The two midship floors are fastened to two futtocks each, determining the framing pattern – the futtocks joined to the faces of the floors that look to the extremities of the ship. Its center is located between 75 and 85 cm before the middle of the keel. Fifty one frames are mentioned, floors, first and second futtocks being 15.5-19 cm sided and spaced between 15 and 25 from each other. Although no room and space average is given, the drawing shows it to be around 40 cm. Dovetail joints were observed (apparently just fastened with iron nails), as well as hooked scarves, although no further details are given. Second futtocks were placed end to end against the floors, and were not attached to the first futtocks. At the stern a mortar was poured between the Y-frames and the first futtocks rested upon it. All frames were cut from the same timber as the keel and source (Calophyllum inophyllum). It seems that many timbers had construction marks but again no details are given.


The planking was 6.5-7 cm thick and 30-35 cm wide and fastened with iron nails to the frames. No details are given. The planking was cut from a Philippine tree (Dipterocarpus cf. Grandiflorus).

Ceiling, Thick Stuff and Wales

Apparently there was no ceiling. A footwale was nailed over the overlap area of the floors and first futtocks. It was cut of the same wood as the keelson and was 31 to 35 cm sided, 14.5 cm molded, and notches over the frames. Another two stringers were placed over the overlap areas of the first and second futtocks, and second futtocks and top timbers. These were cut of the same wood as the planking, and were 25 to 30 cm sided and 8 cm molded.


It seems that there were no treenails. It also appears that the floors were not spiked to the keel, but only held by the bolts that fastened the false-keel, keel and keelson.


A fibrous material was retrieved from the seams and presumed to be coconut fibers after the written sources.


Round stones.

Size and Scantlings

Said to be 200 toneladas by the Spanish and 600 tons by Olivier de Noort. It has been reconstructed to be 23.73 m of keel, 11.30 (50 cm) of beam, 7.63 (50 cm) of depth in hold, and 37 to 37.5 m long on the main deck. These measures lead to a tonnage of 778 toneladas after Christobal de Barros and 1050 toneladas according to Tome Cano.

Construction Feature Sided cm) Molded (cm)
Keel 21 21(+15)
Keelson 20-25 25-35
Maststep 35 30
Floors 15.5-19 Unknown
Futtocks Unknown Unknown
Room-and-space 47 N/A
Planking 30-35 6.5-7


All woods were native from the Philippines.


L’Hour, Michel “Construction navale” in Le San Diego - Un Trésor sous la Mer, Ch. 3 : 118-153. Paris, 1994.

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