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Scuba divers bring sculpture from mysterious wreck to the surface

A group of technical divers have brought to the surface a sculpture from a mysterious wreck that lies on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Divers discovered this mysterious wooden wreck back in 2003. Unfortunately, both the origin and the name of the vessel are unknown. That is why the members of the Badewanne group
Published: September 13, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:14
Scuba divers bring sculpture from mysterious wreck to the surface

A group of technical divers have brought to the surface a sculpture from a mysterious wreck that lies on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Divers discovered this mysterious wooden wreck back in 2003. Unfortunately, both the origin and the name of the vessel are unknown. That is why the members of the Badewanne group gave it the name Cathead, which comes from a carving depicting a lion’s or cat’s head that they discovered at the end of thecatboat.

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lion's effigy on timber
Photo from 2005, when the sculpture was still in place Fot. Badewanne

A few years ago we observed that the sculpture had fallen to the bottom, where it landed facing downwards. As it was no longer a pleasure to see the sculpture in such circumstances, the Finnish Heritage Agency decided that it was time to excavate it. explains the Badewanne group.

Artefact seen on the wreck of a wooden sailing ship
Artefact visible after falling to the bottom Photo Badewanne

Last weekend, the Badewanne group planned, prepared and brought to the surface the sculpture from the mysterious wreck. Archaeologist Minna Koivikko from the Finnish Heritage Agency, who oversaw the operation to recover the artefact, also took part in the entire operation. The sculpture was handed over to the conservation laboratory. After spending a long time underwater, specialists have to properly clean it and protect it from decay and destruction. Eventually, the artefact will go to the museum, where it will be displayed as part of the exhibition.

Peli case 1500
The modified PELI 1500 box that the divers used to extract the sculpture Photo Badewanne

We carefully measured the sculpture in order to prepare its excavation to the smallest detail. Based on the collected documentation, we estimated the dimensions and prepared a suitable basket to bring the object to the surface. We made the basket itself from a modified PELI 1500 box. Everything worked perfectly. – explain the members of Badewanne.

Acathead was a large wooden beam placed on either side of the bow of a sailing ship. It was usually inclined forward at an angle of about 45 degrees. It was used to hold and handle the anchors. At the end was often a carving resembling a cat or a lion.

lion effigy recovered from mysterious sailing shipwreck
Sculpture after being brought to the surface Photo Badewanne
Wreck of unidentified sailing vessel

Little is known about the mysterious wreck in the Baltic Sea. All we can say for sure is that it is undoubtedly an 18th century warship that sank off the coast of Helsinki. The Badewanne group first dived on it in 2003. The wreck has been preserved in fantastic condition and is virtually intact. The hull is only missing a few planks and broken masts.

The Badewanne Group has been working for several years to produce detailed documentation of the sailing ship. About their involvement in this project and the results of their work we wrote at the end of March. It is also available report on the work carried outwhich contains a considerable number of photographs.


Malta is a great place for a diving trip. Very diverse in terms of diving sites and level of difficulty. You can read more about diving in Malta in Carollina Wells’ article, which we published in issue 17. DIVERS24 quarterly! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while the printed version can be purchased from our webshop.

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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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