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SCARCE FIRST HARDCOVER. The Zuytdorp, one of the great ships of the Dutch East India Company, disappeared without trace after leaving Cape Town in 1712, en route to Batavia (Jakarta). The ship was carrying a rich cargo, including some 250,000 guilders in silver coins. Two hundred and forty-two years later, young geologist Phillip Playford stood at the top of precipitous cliffs on a remote part of the Western Australian coast, looking down on wooden wreckage laying scattered below. He had been drawn to this desolate spot by the graphic tales of an elderly stockman: tales of old Dutch coins, a figurehead, and other relics that had been found there many years before. Playford later proved that the wreckage and relics came from the long-lost Zuytdorp, which had crashed into these forbidding cliffs during the winter of 1712.
Phillip Playford brings to life the adventurous story of the Zuytdorp - its voyages and its disappearance, discovery and identification of the wreck, looting of the treasure, courageous underwater archaeological investigations, and evidence that survivors managed to struggle ashore, but never returned to civilization. He also explores possible answers to the intriguing mysteries that still remain. What happened to the survivors? Did they join the Aborigines, to become some of Australia's first European settlers? And who looted the treasure of the Zuytdrop, its fabled 'carpet of silver'? pp.xii, 260 #230815/0616R/0217R Unmarked copy except light scratch to back of dustjacket. First Edition Hardcover copy.