The vestiges of the Dauphine (Natière 1) consisted of 31 metres of the ship's starboard side, from the keel up to the gun deck. Dendrochronological analysis dates its construction to after the winter of 1702–03. In addition to its astounding construction of oak timbers, a wide variety of objects was recovered: rigging, cooking vessels, tableware, wooden tools, personal belongings, items from the ship's apothecary, cannons mounted on gun-carriages, ballast, sabres, pistols and so on. The regional nature of the crockery, the presence of both pistols and heavy ordnance, and the traces that its final voyage took place in the Atlantic, or perhaps the Mediterranean, led researchers to draw up a fairly precise portrait of the ship – a 300-tonne frigate, fitted out as a commerce raider and loaded with goods, that was lost in the first decade of the 18th century.
Identifying the wreck
Matching archaeological clues with historical data allowed researchers to identify the ship as the Dauphine. She was built at the royal arsenal at Le Havre in 1703, and then given by Louis XIV to private merchants for "Commerce Raiding Against the State's Enemies". Under the command of captain Michel Dubocage, she was escorting a captured English ship, the Dragon, when she sank at the entrance to Saint-Malo on 11 December 1704.