We learn from the archives that no lives were lost when the Dauphine and the Aimable Grenot sank, but we know nothing about the life of the crew. Archaeological excavation has shed light on the drugs and surgical methods used aboard ship: nearly one hundred objects, including surgical instruments and utensils for preparing medicine and caring for the sick, were discovered.
On 11 December 1704, the Dauphine foundered as it was returning from an exhausting round of commerce raiding in the Iroise Sea and the English Channel. The instruments discovered at the mainmast step – a mortar and pestle, a clyster, a bleeding bowl, jars for preparing medicine, ointment jars, glass bottles, earthenware and pewter bowls – reveal the spot where the ship's surgeon carried out his duties during naval battles.
The wreck of the Aimable Grenot, on 7 May 1749, took place under quite different circumstances, as it was just starting out on a trading voyage. In the aft of the vessel, archaeologists discovered a number of jars for preparing and storing remedies, a bedpan, a urinal, scale weights and glass bottles, which were probably elements in the surgeon's case stored in the ship's rear quarters. An amputation knife and a bottle for feeding patients were found at the fore of the ship.