Location and study of the patache of Pedro Diaz



Documents from the Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (Torre do Tombo National Archives) and the Arquivo General de Índias (General Archive of India) reveal that a Spanish patache of Pedro Diaz was lost in a storm in 1608 in the municipality of Vila do Bispo, on its return to Europe. This type of vessel is little known, although it was omnipresent in the Modern Age.

This project, jointly promoted by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the Centro de História d´Aquém e d´Além-Mar (CHAM), aims to respond to various issues related to Iberian shipbuilding, the operation of ships during the modern period, life onboard and the contemporary society, as it happened before regarding other Ibero-Atlantic vessels.

Local information and exploratory dives conducted in 2007 allowed the discovery of evidence of a 17th- century shipwreck near Martinhal beach, including piles of ballast and artillery pieces. In 2012 the first field missions (remote sensing and probing) were carried out, resulting in several points of interest and the location of an unknown shipwreck. Documents from the Torre do Tombo National Archives and the Archivo General de Indias 

This project was partially funded by the National Geographic Society and the Waitt Foundation.



The project aims to locate underwater cultural heritage in the Cove of Baleeira and to study the wrecks of the Modern Era. We present below the general goals of the project, taking into account the historical background and the summary evaluation of the archaeological potential of the area:


Start: 2012

Duration: 24 months

Principal Investigator: George Schwarz (NHHC)




- Algarve Archaeological Association
- Câmara Municipal de Vila do Bispo

Host Institution

- Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Main Research Unit

- Centro de História d'Aquém e d'Além-Mar / Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/Universidade Nova de Lisboa | Universidade dos Açores
- Institute of Nautical Archaeology


- Direcção Geral do Património Cultural
- Honda Marine
- Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas
- Instituto Portuário dos Transportes Marítimos
- Marinha Portuguesa
- OpenWaters
- VRFotografia
- Waterworld Lagos


- Centro de Investigação Naval
- Dinamika
- Martinhal Beach Resort and Hotel
- SubNauta – Centro e Escola de Mergulho



George Schwarz   .    Coordenator

Alexis Catsambis (INA)
Andreia Machado (Dinamika)
Augusto Alves (CINAV)
Christiane Kelkel (Waterworld Lagos)
Joana Baço (CHAM)
Jorge Freire (CHAM)
Luis B. de Sousa
Pedro Caleja (SubNauta)
Virgilio Rodrigues (VRFotografia)