Stonewall Shipwreck, Bermuda (c. 1650)

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Background

Located and salvaged by Teddy Tucker in 1950 in Bermuda. Never excavated but recorded in 1975 by Dr. Edwin Dethlefsen. Presumably dating from the middle 17th century, Teddy Tucker believes it to be the Ragusan Wreck, a vessel salvaged and burnt by the Spanish to the anger of the local wreckers.

Description of the Site

The remains of a hull cover an area more or less 13 m long and 6 m wide and seem to be a portion of the starboard stern of a large ship. Part of the keelson, nine floors, seven futtocks, planking, ceiling, and a stern deadwood were preserved.

Keel

Not much information is given on the axial timbers. The presumable deadwood was 45 cm sided on its base and tapered aft, ending in what looks like a flat vertical scarf. From the drawing it seems that the keelson may have been slightly above 30 cm in its sided dimension. The possible remains of a maststep are referred although it does not seem to be in place.

Frames

Nine floors were preserved, the largest along 5.33 m. There is a puzzling mention to "sections of the floor timbers appear to be scarfed with pegs joining the sections from top to bottom"1. From the drawing it looks like floors and futtocks are placed with no space in between along the overlapping area, ruling out the possibility of a double framed hull. On the other hand, second futtocks are noted end to end with the floors, suggesting the double frame hypothesis. It is not therefore clear if this ship was double framed. A reference is made to the fact that the floors are not notched to fit around the keel. From the drawing the floors seem to be around 25 cm sided, and the futtocks slightly less.

Planking

A reference to "an outer shell of pine" running along either sides of the deadwood may suggest a pine planking. No dimensions are given.

Ceiling

The ceiling is 7.5 cm thick.

Fastenings

Iron bolts are mentioned linking keel and keelson through the floors.

Caulking

Not mentioned.

Ballast

No information. Fragments of granite and flints were found among it.

Size and scantlings

This is thought to have had an overall length of 45.72 m and a beam of 12.8 m.


Construction Feature Sided (cm) Molded (cm)
Floors 25 Unknown
Futtocks 22 Unknown
Room-and-space 47 Unknown
Ceiling 15-40 7.5


Wood

Although several samples of wood were taken from this wreck and oak, pine, beech, and elm objects were retrieved among others no information is given on the wood utilized in the construction of this ship.

References

1. Dethlefsen, Edwin S. "The Stonewall wreck" International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration (1977) 6.4: 315-329, p. 319.

New World Shipwrecks, 1500-1800: A Compendium of Sites Salvaged or Excavated, by Roger Smith, December 1978;

Dethlefson, Idwin & Davidson, Ellen & Buchman, D. Lynn "The Stonewall Wreck" IJNA (1977) 6.4: 315-329;

Dethlefson, Idwin "Further notes on the Stonewall wreck: a 17th century Spanish vessel wrecked of Bermuda" IJNA (1978) 7.02: 159-161.

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