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Unusual discoveries on a 15th century warship wreck

At the bottom of the Baltic Sea off the coast of southern Sweden lies an unusual 15th century warship wreck. During this year’s research, archaeologists found early firearms and a beautifully shaped tankard with an engraving in the shape of a crown among the objects discovered at this interesting site. This summer, divers spent 3
Published: October 7, 2019 - 19:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 18:38
Unusual discoveries on a 15th century warship wreck

At the bottom of the Baltic Sea off the coast of southern Sweden lies an unusual 15th century warship wreck. During this year’s research, archaeologists found early firearms and a beautifully shaped tankard with an engraving in the shape of a crown among the objects discovered at this interesting site.

This summer, divers spent 3 weeks exploring the site on the wreck of the “Gribshunden”, which is the remains of a royal warship that sank in 1495. It is considered to be the best preserved vessel of its type in the world. The information on the ship’s construction that can be obtained by examining the wreck is the focus of the 40 specialists who make up the international team.

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We had a fantastic team of specialists from 10 different countries at our disposal, who achieved the objectives set for this season of archaeological work, both in terms of excavating individual objects and studying the structure of the wreck,’ said Brendan Foley, archaeologist at Lund University.

“Gribshunden” belonged to Jan Oldenburg King of Denmark and ruler of the Kalmar Union. Its crew numbered 150 sailors. In the summer of 1495, the vessel was sent to Sweden to stop the Swedes from leaving the Union. However, events turned out somewhat differently and the ship burned while anchored near the port of Ronneby.

rsz_fynd_gribshunden_tunnlock_1_foto_brett_seymour

Divers found the wreck in the 1970s, but archaeologists did not know of its existence until 2000. Since then, several projects have been carried out to investigate the unusual site from the late 15th century.

We have been able to identify several key structural elements of the wreck and are getting closer to solving the puzzle of how these types of ships were built. This allows us to deepen our knowledge of an extremely important period in world history when great geographical discoveries were made,” said Johan Rönnby, professor of underwater archaeology at Södertörn University

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It is believed that King Jan Oldenburg lost his most valuable possessions and costumes with the ship. It is possible that some of these artefacts have just been found. Among the various items there is an earring with a mark placed by its maker, a tin plate and a beautifully decorated tankard. However, there were also items of everyday use, tableware, barrels or early firearms.

rsz_8_handbössan_foto_ingvar_sjöblom

The wreck continues to unveil more secrets and researchers promise themselves a lot after further analyses of the excavated objects, but also after the planned next examinations of the wreck and the site where it lies. From an archaeological point of view, it is a real rarity that can help remove many white spots in the history books.

Source: medievalists.net

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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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