Deltebre I Shipwreck, Spain

Cargo of the wreck Deltebre I. ©Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya


The ship was found in 2008 by a fisherman in the Delta of the River Ebro. Immediately he declared the finding to the authorities and the Subaquatic Archaeological Centre of Catalonia, and the CASC took responsibility for the inventory, protection, conservation, study and awareness of the archaeological heritage. The shipwreck's good condition and historical interest led the CASC to begin its excavation in 2009, finishing it in 2016.

Work done so far revealed that the ship sunk in 1813 during the Peninsular War. It was part of a convoy under English command, coming from Alicante after retreating from attacking the city of Tarragona. Most of the cargo consists of different types of calibre ammunition, and has been preserved in excellent condition along with the ship and crew objects thanks to the sedimentation of the river.

Cargo of the wreck Deltebre I ©Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya


The exhibition of the shipwreck (Deltebre I. La Història d’un Naufragi) encourages a responsible and non-intrusive public access to underwater cultural heritage and  increase the public awareness, appreciation and protection of heritage. Additional publication in magazines about cultural heritage dissemination, press, documentaries and other media promote awareness.

The scientific research in the site complies with the Convention and the appropriate measures for conservation of the heritage.


During the underwater archaeological works, CASC and FECDAS have organized public visits for divers to the shipwreck, showing not only the site, but the work realized by archaeologists. The site cannot be permanently uncovered for visit because of damage to the wood by the worm teredo navalis.

An itinerant exhibition has been designed for the public to enjoy the site and understand the history context and significance as cultural heritage. This exhibition was realized thanks to the collaboration between the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Alicante and Denominación de Origen Vinos de Alicante (which became involved thanks to the discovery in the shipwreck of a wine bottle originating in the area).


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