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Unusual find from the wreck of a 17th century Kronan ship

While diving on the wreck of the 17th century ship Kronan, a group of divers came across an unusual find. The sunken vessel lies in the Swedish part of the Baltic Sea. Searching the remains of the wreck of the 17th-century Kronan ship, sunk in 1676, divers found a vessel in which there was… cheese!
Published: January 6, 2019 - 16:02
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 13:46
Unusual find from the wreck of a 17th century Kronan ship

While diving on the wreck of the 17th century ship Kronan, a group of divers came across an unusual find. The sunken vessel lies in the Swedish part of the Baltic Sea.

Searching the remains of the wreck of the 17th-century Kronan ship, sunk in 1676, divers found a vessel in which there was… cheese! To be more precise, it was a strange mass which, after closer examination, turned out to be cheese.

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What’s up with the Baltic wrecks?

Wrecks sunken in the Swedish part of the Baltic Sea with their contents have already surprised divers exploring them more than once. It is enough to recall the story champagne found in the vicinity of the Åland Islands, whose 11 bottles sold for more than USD 150,000and it should be remembered that this is only a part of what has been excavated. Exploring the Baltic wrecks, divers have also come across other, slightly less valuable liquors, such as beer or mineral water, which eventually turned out to be alcoholic.

Cheese-container-Photo-Elias-Håkansson2

Now cheese has joined the ranks of products that set the table in centuries past. According to the experts who studied it, it is characterised by the smell of yeast and the popular Roquefort species.

We think it is a dairy product and unlike the other finds, I find its scent quite pleasant. It smells of life – – said Lars Einarsson, who leads the exploration of the Kronan wreck

Cheese-Photo-Elias-Håkansson2

Once again, the uniqueness of the Baltic Sea and the specific underwater conditions meant that a real time capsule awaited the divers exploring the wreck. Low temperature, low salinity and scarce access to sunlight, as you can see, serve not only to preserve wooden wrecks from several centuries ago, but also their cargo, even the organic one, which would have no chance to survive in any other circumstances.

Long matured cheese

The vessel containing the substance, which has been classified as cheese, has been handed over to staff at Uppsala Agricultural University. Specialists working at the university will now have a chance to prove themselves in this unusual and, ekhm, pioneering situation for the dairy industry.

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In all this story, apart from the main and according to the divers’ accounts very essential character, the wreck itself is also worth mentioning. The Swedish ship Kronan was sunk near Öland June 1, 1676. The vessel, measuring 53 metres, was one of the largest at that time sailing the seas. The combined fleets of the kingdoms of Denmark and the Netherlands put an end to her life. Almost the entire crew, consisting of 800 sailors, died with the ship.

Gold-coins-and-diamond-ring-Photo-Elias-Håkansson2

The wreck was found in 1980 and today it is the largest underwater archaeology project currently underway in Sweden. During the two-week exploration, in addition to the above-mentioned cheese, 14 gold coins, a diamond ring and a large number of 17th century medicines were found. During previous explorations about 30,000 artefacts were taken from the wreck. These included bronze cannons, coins, medical instruments and medicines, bottles and about 400 kg of human remains.

Kronan-shipwreck-Photo-by-Lars-Einarsson.

Research conducted on the wreck of the 17th-century Kronan ship is 90% complete. Archaeologists plan to continue exploring the vessel for another 2-3 seasons. After the project is closed, it is very possible that a dedicated museum will be created. It would include all the objects excavated during the works. It is not known, however, whether there will be a cheese…

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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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