The Dauphine and the Aimable Grenot

A unique site?

The 1999 archaeological campaign focused on the eastern end of the Natière site. The vestiges recovered were identified as belonging to the kitchen and bow section of a heavily armed warship. It seemed reasonable to conclude that the elements recovered from the western end of the site three years earlier were the aft section of the same ship, especially since both the orientation and architecture were remarkably similar. To account for the chronological gap between the two ensembles, it was posited that the ship was built at the turning point between two structural styles, i.e. the second or third decade of the 18th century. The archaeological study from the period found that the ship was a 300 tonne frigate equipped with powerful guns.

A mid-course correction!

The following year, in order to verify the single nature of the deposit, a dendrochronological analysis of the timber from both ends of the site was scheduled. It revealed that not one but two ships had run up on the rocks, half a century apart.

A golden age of shipbuilding

The two ships were identified as the Dauphine and the Aimable Grenot, a pair of frigates. They provide valuable testimony about an era when the ship-owners of Saint-Malo, Granville and Le Havre propelled French maritime trade to new heights. They offer the most well-preserved archaeological evidence yet found of the trading crews and privateers that sailed the seas off Saint-Malo in the first half of the 18th century.

Multimedia

© BnF
Map of Le Havre created under the direction of César-François Cassini de Thury. It was drawn in 1757 by Rousselot et Mentelle and verified the same year by Magnien. Engraving by Aubin, Bellery Desfontaines and Bourgoin for lettering.
© BnF
Map of Saint-Malo - Grandville. New ed., No. 127 / under the direction of César-François Cassini de Thury.
Teddy Seguin (Adramar) © MCC / DRASSM
Taking dendrochronological samples from the Dauphine (1704). (Ref. : NAT04_SM0788)
D. R.
The port of St-Malo seen from St Servan and across from Eperon, engraving by Nicolas Ozanne. (Cliché : NAT01_I0083)

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