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Keywords:

  • Aanloop Molengat;
  • 17th century;
  • shipbuilding;
  • scantlings;
  • timber density;
  • field archaeology

With its basis in the Aanloop Molengat-wreck research, this paper reflects on two issues: the relationship between written and archaeological sources and the comparability of archaeological field data. The first theme results in a discussion of Nicolaes Witsen's work on shipbuilding and his rendering of primary source material. The second theme results in a discussion of more or less contemporary wrecks for which field data is available. Timber density is compared and a diagnostic index for what have loosely been termed Dutch-flush merchant ships is proposed. Inconsistencies between field data and historical analysis are presented as a field of further research.