2007 Travel News ArchiveTravel

Wood clues to Quedah Merchant

Captain William Kidd researcher, Richard Zacks told National Geographic that wood and ship building techniques could help archaeologists verify the identity of the ship found off Catalina Island in the National Park of the East. The sunken ship is believed to be the 500-ton Quedah Merchant, captured by legendary privateer Captain William Kidd in the 17th century and sought for years. Zack recommended investigators to study fragments of wood that can be traced to Asia where the ship was built. He also recommends checking into the construction technique known as a woodworking joinery called rabbeted seams that Captain Kidd had bragged about. The seams made the Quedah Merchant more resistant to storms. Zacks is the author of “The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd.”

Charles Beeker, an archaeologist at Indiana University, who earlier had worked with a major Taino Indian artifacts discovery in the National Park of the East, was called in by the Dominican Navy to head a team of researchers. Beeker told National Geographic that the research could take two years of careful excavations to confirm the vessel’s identity. Afterwards, the plan is to create an underwater park.