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Swedish archaeologists to the rescue of Baltic wrecks

The Swedes estimate that there are as many as 20,000 shipwrecks at the bottom of the Baltic Sea in their coastal waters, which are a key source of clues to the region’s history and need special protection. A team of underwater archaeologists investigated shipwrecks and vessels located on the seabed along the east coast of
Published: February 15, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:00
Swedish archaeologists to the rescue of Baltic wrecks

The Swedes estimate that there are as many as 20,000 shipwrecks at the bottom of the Baltic Sea in their coastal waters, which are a key source of clues to the region’s history and need special protection.

A team of underwater archaeologists investigated shipwrecks and vessels located on the seabed along the east coast of Sweden. Unfortunately, during their exploration of the archaeological sites, they noticed that some of the artefacts previously found on the wrecks had disappeared.

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Archaeologists from the Swedish National Maritime Museum have therefore embarked on a project to document individual sites in the hope that the information they gather underwater will allow them to better protect historical artefacts.

This way we can always check the pictures and see what the situation is at each site. What happened and whether there were other people who carried out the looting, or whether the wreck broke up due to natural causes,” said Patrik Hoglund, archaeologist at the National Maritime Museum in Sweden

For archaeologist Jim Hansson, objects such as a pot that was stolen from the wreck of a 16th-century merchant ship are far more valuable when left on the seabed than when brought to the surface.

Archaeologists have joined forces with the coastguard, navy and police who have agreed to assist and monitor unauthorised departures of diving vessels.

In addition, coastguard divers are trained to help protect wrecks in an effective way. Documenting valuable historical sites requires new skills for divers, who must learn to navigate wrecks without causing damage and be able to catch key details.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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