Gunpowder flasks from the Palmwood wreck

Bewapende musketier met bandelier op de borst. (Atelier van) Hendrick Goltzius, 1585 -1589. Rijksstudio Rijksmuseum

(Atelier van) Hendrick Goltzius, 1585 -1589. Rijksstudio Rijksmuseum

Gunpowder flasks made of wood and leather, retrieved from the seventeenth century shipwreck lying on the seabed of the Wadden Sea. Hundreds of exceptional objects have been found in this wreck, known as the Palmwood Wreck, including a unique seventeenth century dress. The ship was heavily armed, most probably as it sailed on the Mediterranean Sea. Ships needed protection as the North African coast was swarming with ‘Barbary pirates’.

Worn on a belt

Gunpowder flasks are small wooden canisters with a leather casing. They were worn on a leather strap and contain exactly enough gunpowder for one shot. The leather belts upon which the gunpowder canisters were attached are called bandoliers.

On display

Artefacts such as gunpowder flasks provide researchers with an image of the ship’s armament. The province of North-Holland funded the conservation and restoration of the gunpowder flasks. These gunpowder flasks and many other unique finds from the Palmwood Wreck are on display in a spectacular new exhibition in the basement of the main building at Museum Kaap Skil.

NB: Research continues to be conducted into the collection. For this reason, this article may contain obsolete information or outdated insights.