“A ship carrying possessions of very wealthy, possibly even royal people, lay buried under the sand of the sea bottom for 400 years.” 

Some years ago, a unique collection of archeological objects was discovered in the Wadden Sea. In the Palmwood wreck, once a large wooden sailing vessel, personal items were found from the richest years of the Golden Age. In addition to a wardrobe of noble origin, including a well-preserved dress, the find also contained silverware. A gilt silver cup from this collection has been meticulously restored and can be seen in the exhibit ‘Cup from the Palmwood wreck’.

Gilt silver

The cup was presumably made in Neurenberg Germany around the end of the 16th century. The cast and driven cup is decorated with floral patterns, vases and mascarons. Mars, the Roman god of war, stands on the lid. His shield has been lost. Neurenberg was known for its silversmiths, who produced similar cups up through the second half of the 17th century.


The centuries spent on the bottom of the Wadden Sea left the cup in a bad condition. The object was broken in three places and partially flattened. Due to the salty seawater, the cup was covered with a dark layer of corrosive bumps. Restauration experts from Restaura have carefully removed the deposits and re-attached the loose parts.

Showing off wealth

Such cups had no other function than to show off how wealthy one was. Such a silver goblet, whether or not gilded, nicely decorated and large in size, attracted quite a lot of attention. Only wealthy people could afford such valuables. Well-to-do people sometimes had such cups included in paintings made of themselves.

Studies of the Palmwood wreck

The Palmwood wreck was a heavily armed fluyt, suited for trading in the Mediterranean. The finds from the Palmwood wreck tell the story about this relatively unknown but very important trading region for the Dutch ships in the 17th century. At the moment, the Palmwood wreck collection is being studied and preserved. The investigation can be followed on a large touchscreen in the exhibit. Eventually, Museum Kaap Skil and the Province of North-Holland will bring this unique collection back to Texel.

The cup from the Palmwood wreck can be seen from March 9 till November 3. Purchase your ticket here.

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