Scientists discover 500-year-old shipwreck in Baltic Sea

Image: Deep Sea Productions/MMT
Image: Deep Sea Productions/MMT

A relatively intact shipwreck discovered in the Baltic Sea has been confirmed by scientists to be that of a vessel dating back 500 years.

Initial discovery of the wreck was made in 2009 by the Swedish Maritime Administration. However, maritime archaeologists from Swedish survey company MMT were only recently able to identify its possible historical significance following a second inspection of the site conducted earlier this year.

The second inspection was carried out by MMT in cooperation with the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA), the Maritime Archaeology Research Institute of Södertörn University (MARIS), and Deep Sea Productions.

Researchers found that the vessel’s hull remained intact and that its masts and swivel guns were still in place. The presence of the small swivel guns, which were known for their short range and their lack of ship-sinking capability, implies that the vessel was configured to be able to defend itself against unauthorised boardings.

A small tender, possibly for ferrying crew to and from shore, was also found on the deck.

Based on the findings of an archaeological survey of the wreck, the vessel is said to have been built between the late 15th century and early 16th century.

MMT maritime archaeologist Dr Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz said that the cold brackish waters were primarily responsible for the wreck’s remarkable state of preservation despite having spent centuries at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The vessel appeared “almost like it sank yesterday,” Dr Pacheco-Ruiz added.

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