Australian historians believe that Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon was
the first European to have reached Australia in 1606, closely followed
by fellow Dutch seafarer Dirk Hartog.
Legend surrounds what may be
an early shipwreck in Armstrong Bay in southwest Victoria. Known as the
"Mahogany Ship", speculation identifies it as a Portuguese caravel.
Attempts to relocate the wreck have since failed.
But no such mystery surrounds the location of the wreck in New Zealand.
University of Auckland's Dr Jonathan Palmer, who used tree-ring
techniques to date the ship's timbers, is calling for a full excavation
of the wreck now buried under some 10 meters of sand.
told TVNZ his first reaction at seeing the dating results was "Good God,
this could be really important It really needs excavation. It needs to
be an eminent archaeologist".
The ship was discovered in 1982 by a
local mussel fisherman. The wood he salvaged was later identified as
the tropical hardwood Lagerstroemia.
It has only recently been further analysed.
traditions of earlier shipwrecks as further evidence such a dig would be
Cook recited an account by local Maori of "earlier
encounters with Europeans, with the ships having been wrecked and the
survivors killed and eaten".
The exact position of the wreck has
been pinpointed through use of a magnetometer survey. While buried in
sand, the sand bank itself is no longer under water.
bronze swivel cannon found at Dundee Beach southwest of Darwin in 2010
was recently determined to have sat on the seabed for some 250 years.
Teen Christopher Doukas found the light artillery piece buried in the sand during an unusually low tide in 2010.
artefacts ever found in Northern Australia," geomorphologist Dr Tim
Stone of archaeological group Past Masters told AAP.
vessel could have been blown off course and on to Australian shores, he
said, and the gun find could represent one such incident.
analysis tests are being undertaken in Australia and North America to
try to determine the source of the bronze used to cast the gun.
The cannon isn't the only indication of such an event.
1000-year old coins from the ancient African kingdom of Kilwa were
recently identified after being found in the Northern Territory in 1944.