Batavia Shipwreck: Analyses of Human Skeletal Remains Associated with the Batavia Mutiny of 1629

Research Projects | Updated 4 years ago

Two archaeologists at work preparing papers
Preparing papers for collection of sample
Image copyright of WA Museum

The Maritime Archaeology department undertook a research project to analyse the human skeletal remains associated with the Batavia mutiny of 1629.

The wrecking of the Batavia and the ensuing massacre is well documented in both Australian non-fiction and scientific literature. The location of the massacre is one of Australia's earliest known European archaeological sites, having occurred well before European colonisation.

This project is designed to both contribute new and significant knowledge of events surrounding the mutiny, and to better understand the general life standards of seafaring 17th-century European peoples. The principal investigator was Dr Daniel Franklin.

The principal aims of this project were to establish the following:

  1. Sex determination of skeletal elements, using molecular DNA analysis;
  2. Maternal and paternal lineages, using genetic markers from DNA of the multiple burial individuals to establish any familial relationships, i.e. whether the victims are members of the Predicant's family;
  3. Commingled remains, using DNA analysis to conclusively associate disarticulated remains;
  4. Isotopic analysis of diet, using carbon/nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen.

Report and publications pending.

See reports: #231, #134, #133, #112

See for related publications:

P. Yahya. DNA Analysis of Human Skeletal Remains Associated with the Batavia Mutiny of 1629. MA Thesis, Centre for Forensic Science, University of Western Australia, 2008. http://theses.library.uwa.edu.au/adt-WU2009.0034/?

D. Franklin and L. Freedman. "A Bioarchaeological Investigation of a Multiple Burial Associated with the Batavia mutiny of 1629." Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2005): 77-90.
* Human skeletal remains are displayed with the approval of the Dutch government and family members.