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A perfectly preserved book has been excavated from a 300-year-old wreck!

A real treasure has been recovered from a wreck on the seabed near St Petersburg! Scientists investigating the remains of a German ship from 300 years ago have found and brought to the surface a perfectly preserved book. This unusual and unprecedented find is yet another example of how sunken wrecks can be real time
Published: September 26, 2019 - 15:52
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 18:36
A perfectly preserved book has been excavated from a 300-year-old wreck!

A real treasure has been recovered from a wreck on the seabed near St Petersburg! Scientists investigating the remains of a German ship from 300 years ago have found and brought to the surface a perfectly preserved book. This unusual and unprecedented find is yet another example of how sunken wrecks can be real time capsules and windows through which we can look into the past.

Underwater archaeologists from the Underwater Research Centre of the Russian Geographical Society, certainly did not expect what they managed to find during the 6th season of research work, conducted at the site where the wreck of the German ship “Archangel Raphael”, which belonged to smugglers and sank in the waters of the Gulf of Finland in 1724, is located.

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While each wreck may surprise you with its often valuable contents, these are usually objects that are characterised by a certain repetition of occurrence. Dishes, objects of everyday use, sometimes weapons, elements of clothing, bones, etc. This time, however, archaeologists fell prey to a perfectly preserved volume, which had lain under water for 300 years!

The book excavated from the wreck is a Lutheran psalter in a leather binding, published in 1692. Currently, the precious find is in the conservation workshop, where it will undergo a number of processes to prevent its destruction. When the conservation work is complete, the psalter will most likely go on display in one of Russia’s museums.

From the available information we know that in the winter of 1724, the “Archangel Raphael” sailed to the Russian Empire smuggling various valuable goods in her hold. However, the vessel was trapped between ice floes, which subsequently crushed her hull and sent her to the bottom.

For the next 3 weeks, 18 local peasants dived into the icy depths to retrieve the bales of cloth and leather that made up the main contents of the hold. However, it is clear that not everything was salvaged from within the sunken ship and many valuable artefacts are still hidden within the wreck. The found book had lain for almost three centuries, hidden under a wooden barrel, from where archaeologists extracted it.

Source: iz.ru

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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