‘Astonishingly Preserved’ 500-Year-Old Shipwreck Found in Baltic Sea

A scan of a remarkable preserved shipwreck found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. (MMT)

(CN) – After 500 years at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, an unnamed and eerily well-preserved ship dating back to the Renaissance has been discovered.

The ship’s masts and standing rigging are in place, along with the swivel guns and anchor. It was first detected by sonar scans done by the Swedish Maritime Administration in 2009. The ship predates larger, more powerful ships that took part in the Seven Year’s Wars between 1563-1570, according to maritime archaeologist Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz of the University of Southampton, who led the survey to the site this year.

The expedition was a collaboration between Deep Sea Productions, Swedish seabed exploratory firm MMT, Maritime Archaeology Research Institute of Södertörn University and the Centre for Maritime Archaeology.

The shipwreck could date between the late 15th century and early 16th century, according to the study. This would predate the warship Mars that sunk after an explosion during the First Battle of Öland in 1564, Henry the VIII’s Mary Rose (1510-1545) and the Swedish warship Vasa (1628).

This unnamed ship, or okänt skepp as it is called in Swedish, remains nearly pristine according to the study’s authors and as seen in video footage taken during MMT’s surveys for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. The ship’s tender boat, which ferried sailors to shore, remains affixed to the ship’s main deck. The find is the best preserved Early Modern Period shipwreck to be discovered in recent times.

Compared to the shipwreck of the Swedish vessel Gribshunden from the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the unknown ship is nearly intact, according to the archaeological survey team who took detailed images of the hull and decorated transom.

The ship likely sunk around the time Christopher Columbus discovered the new world and William Shakespeare was born in 1564.

The survey team included doctoral students, experienced researchers and deep-sea divers. The partnership between academia and MMT has studied 65 perfectly preserved shipwrecks in the Black Sea, some dating back to Ottoman, Byzantine Roman and Greek periods and found at depths of more than 6,500 feet.


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