For centuries the Marsdiep channel between the island of Texel and Den Helder, and the Vlie between the islands of Vlieland and Terschelling were the main links between the North Sea and the Zuyder Zee.
Passing through these sea inlets and sailing into the Waddenzee was not without danger. The constantly changing tidal gullies, the creation of sandbars and unreliable buoyage represented a danger to shipping. Many seagoing vessels ran aground or lost their moorings and sank. Inland vessels and lighters (used to load and unload seagoing vessels) also regularly sank in the Waddenzee.
On Christmas Eve 1593, 44 merchant vessels were lost in the Texel Roads during a violent storm. Similar events occurred many times over the centuries. The Waddenzee therefore became a unique archaeological resource containing hundreds of shipwrecks, large and small, dating back to about 1500.
The site shows finds recovered from one of these merchant vessels, popularly known as 'Scheurrak SO 1'. The vessel was loaded with grain from the Baltic and probably also disappeared on Christmas Eve 1593.