Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 141–156 | Cite as

Scattered shipwreck site prospection: the combined use of numerical modeling and documentary research (Fougueux, 1805)

  • T. Fernández-Montblanc
  • A. Izquierdo
  • M. Bethencourt
Original Paper


A shipwreck site located off Sancti Petri sand spit (Cadiz, Spain) was identified as a Temeraire-class 74-gun French ship. The archaeological deposits relate it to the Fougueux, sunken after the Battle of Trafalgar. The site contains some pieces of the naval structure, 32 iron guns, and a large anchor, but two thirds of the ship is missing. Available information (including ship logbooks of weather observations and other historic documents) establishes that a dismasted French ship ran aground on 22 October 1805 and broke up into pieces on the 25th due to tempestuous weather. Combining that information and a set of numerical models (ocean, atmosphere, and dispersion), we aim to simulate different scenarios in order to determine the most probable areas for finding the shipwreck remains of the Fougueux, taking into account the uncertainty of the information used and the modeling limitations. The probability of finding scattered remains belonging to the Fougueux was calculated using the modeled scenarios. As a result, it was found that the high probability area contained four additional sites comprising 40 guns and 5 anchors whose characteristics and dating are similar to those of the previously known site. The results of our study highlight the value of numerical modeling in underwater archaeology as a tool for the identification and optimization of resources in prospecting scattered shipwreck sites.


Shipwreck Numerical modeling Dispersion model Scattering Site formation Site prospection 



This work has been supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and FEDER, Project CTM2010-16363 (ARQUEOMONITOR). This is the contribution n° 97 from the CEIMAR Journal Series. The coordinates of the original Fougueux site were supplied by The Underwater Archaeology Centre of Andalusia. Their studies are needed to understand the history of the Fougueux.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Fernández-Montblanc
    • 1
  • A. Izquierdo
    • 1
  • M. Bethencourt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Physics, International Campus of Excellence of the Sea (CEI·MAR)University of CadizPuerto RealSpain
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science, Metallurgical Engineering and Inorganic Chemistry, International Campus of Excellence of the Sea (CEI·MAR)University of CadizPuerto RealSpain

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