Swedish archaeologists have found in the Baltic Sea six wrecks of historic vessels from the 17th and 18th centuries that sank near Karlskrona.
Researchers from the Vrak – Museum of Wrecks have recently identified the wrecks of six warships that rest on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The vessels sank in the waters of the Blekinge archipelago, near Karlskrona. The city was an important naval port for centuries, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The findings suggest that the sinking of the vessels took place over a 50-year period and effectively secured the strategic harbour. Archaeologists have also reported that all the vessels were deliberately sunk in the Djupasund strait. In this way they blocked access to Karlskrona from the sea and prevented an attack on the harbour and the town.
The existence of wrecks that lie at the bottom of the Djupasund strait between the islands of Tjurkö and Sturkö has long been known. However, no one has ever bothered to examine them thoroughly. Interestingly, it has not even been known exactly how many wrecks lie on the seabed at this location or from what period they date.
It was the perfect puzzle to solve for marine archaeologists from the Swedish Vrak – Museum of Wrecks. In the course of subsequent work, the researchers established the number, age and names of individual wrecks. Among them was the wreck of the giant ship Enigheten, which was the third largest ship in the 17th century in terms of size. The other five were the Wasa, the frigate Södermanland, the cruise ship Disa, the brigantine Pollux and the schooner Simpan.
According to archaeologists, all the vessels have a long and intriguing history. But they were united by a sad end, when they ended their careers as an underwater barrier protecting the port of Kalskrona.
To begin with, the entire area was surveyed by specialists using high-end multibeam sonar. Detailed images from the sonar made it possible to initially identify the individual finds. It was determined that there are probably six wrecks on the bottom and several other historical remains.
The survey has enabled us to focus our archaeological efforts and document the wrecks more methodically. Instead of speculating on what hides at the bottom, we can now use the archaeological documentation to get facts about the wrecks in Djupasund – said Patrik Höglund, marine archaeologist at Vrak – Museum of Wrecks.
The next step was to compare the sonar results with archival data. The historical records revealed further pages of the history of the wrecks sunk in the Djupasund Strait. The marine archaeologists then went underwater, from where they took wood samples for dendrochronological studies. By compiling all available data together, the researchers determined the probable identity of the sunken vessels.
Many readers will certainly be pleased with the intentions that the wrecks scattered around Karlskrona Swedes have in mind. Well, in the near future a diving park is to be established here. The place will not only allow you to enjoy the sunken historical wrecks, but will also bring their history closer to you. It will also be a great opportunity to promote the Baltic region among divers from around the world.
The Polish diving community will surely be pleased to know that on the opposite side of the Baltic an interesting dive site will appear. However, the whole initiative raises the question – Why are there no similar activities in our country?
Sweden is famous for its magnificent wrecks that rest at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. One of them is the magnificent Bodekull warship wreck from the 17th century, which we visited in 2021. You will read more about it in issue 19. the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while you can purchase the printed version in our online shop.
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