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Post 992715182

Hmm, I noticed I mentioned Nova Zembla in my previous post, but that I have never posted anything about fellow Dutchman Willem Barentsz. Shame on me, because he rules! Check out A voyage through time, the story of Barents' wintering hut.

"Fifteen Dutch seafarers lead by Jacob van Heemskerck and Willem Barents attempted in 1596 to sail to Asia across the North Pole. In August 1596 this dearing endeavor ended near the northcape of Novaya Zemlya when the vessel was beset in sea ice. The Dutch decided to build a wintering shelter from drift wood and parts of their ship. They named it Het Behouden Huys (The Saved House) upon completion. The account of the subsequent wintering was published by crewman Gerrit de Veer in 1598. 'The greatest treasures of all are the hardest to find', so reads the introduction to this tale and this motto gained new meaning with the archaeological research at the site during the 1970s and 1990s.

Norwegian harpooner Elling Carlsen discovered the remains of the Saved House in 1871. The roof of the hut had collapsed, and Carlsen went ashore to take a closer look at a site. Inside the House was a mass of snow and ice, keeping a treasure trove of historical objects. Inspired by his findings, Carlsen wrote in his log that the winterers 'had been equipped in a war-like manner'. Not surprising - considering the violent years the Dutch Republic experienced during its rebellion against the powerful Spanish king. The explorers were sent out looking for resources which would keep the young state alive. Carlsen took all the obvious treasures, including some one-of-a-kind experimental navigational instruments, back to Norway and sold them to an English trader, who presented the collection in Amsterdam in the same year." Check out more on Willem Barentsz at this Google search.