Shrimp fishermen fished up a wooden martial statue from the seventeenth century on Monday morning. The shrimp cutter Wieringer 22 surfaced near Texel.
The statue was used as decoration at the end of the railing of a large (war) ship, municipal archaeologist Michiel Bartels of the municipality of Hoorn told the newspaper. Leeuwarder Courant.
Bartels received a call from the fishermen from Wieringen. After the discovery in the fairway the Texelstroom, 5 kilometers from Texel, they immediately contacted the archaeologist.
“It is a very special discovery. The statue is still very intact. The hat that the man is wearing is a Phrygian hat. This hat symbolizes freedom and independence.”
“The Phrygians had been enslaved by the Romans. Slaves were shaved bald. When released from slavery, Phrygians wore a cap to hide their baldness and signify their freedom. During the Eighty Years’ War, the symbol returned as a sign of independence.”
Lucky that statue is well preserved
Bartels has also been in contact with the Rijksmuseum. “In the seventeenth century, the Dutch depicted these warriors with caps as a sign of the freedom regained from Spain.” The archaeologist will further investigate the statue later this week.
It is fortunate that the statue has been so well preserved. “It is an oak statue, which in itself is quite strong wood. But in the Wadden Sea you have a lot of shipworms, they eat the entire wooden statue within two years. But this statue has been stuck in the sandy bottom. As a result, the shipworms are not there came to.”
The fishermen themselves have a taste for it. The warrior’s head has been given the name ‘Barry’ and they hope to catch even more in the Wadden Sea. Bartels agrees. “I think this is reason to go and see what else is there. A diving group has to search there quickly. Who knows, we might find a complete ship.”