Localisation approximative de l'épave Jeanne-Elisabeth dans l'Hérault.


Aware of the sinking of the Jeanne-Elisabeth from the archives, researchers were for many years interested in locating her wreck but they were beaten to it by looters who, in 2006, happened upon the site and set about their repugnant work. Nevertheless this criminal action, which was quickly brought to a halt, led to a methodical excavation under the direction of DRASSM. In addition to a load of wheat, the 200-ton vessel was carrying a large freight of silver in the form of 24,600 piastres that had been minted in Mexico. She was sailing under the Swedish flag from Cadiz to Marseilles when she anchored off the coast of Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone in the evening of 14 November 1755.

The excavations yielded some exceptionally well-preserved artefacts from the ship and her cargo. As for the hull, it bore the hallmarks of several shipbuilding traditions, suggesting the shipwrights of the Wolgast yard on the shores of the Baltic Sea drew skilfully upon the knowledge of their Dutch, British and French counterparts. The ship was launched in 1754, just one year before she foundered. Her complement consisted of ten Swedish sailors, aged 16 to 35.

The great interest generated by the archaeological collections resulting from the excavations, combined with the emergence of various avenues for research in French and international archives, make the Jeanne-Elisabeth an iconic site on the Languedoc coast.

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Des structures très bien conservées sur le pont inférieur du navire en zone arrière.

© Teddy Seguin

Les cordages in situ.

© Teddy Seguin/DRASSM

Échantillon de pièces de 8, réaux d’argent.

© Stéphane Cavillon/DRASSM

Découverte exceptionnelle d’une couverture de livre en cuir présentant sur la tranche des traces de dorure et le titre de l’ouvrage « Memoires de Brienne ».

© Philippe Groscaux /CNRS-CCJ

Composition du gréement du navire.

© Teddy Seguin/DRASSM

Composition reflétant la cuisine et le service d’un navire du XVIIIe siècle.

© Teddy Seguin/DRASSM

Operation managers

  • Patrick Grandjean/Drassm (2008-2011)
  • Marine Jaouen/Drassm (2012-2018)


  • JAOUEN Marine, RIETH Éric, BERTHAUT CLARAC Sébastien, et al. — L’épave de la Jeanne-Elisabeth, 1755 : 2008-2016 bilan de huit campagnes de fouille. Archaeonautica, 19, 2017, p. 41-86.
  • La Jeanne-Elisabeth livre ses secrets