Maritime archaeologists from the Vrak Museum have announced that they have managed to find the wreck of the Äpplet ship, a sister vessel of the famous sailing ship Vasa.
On Monday evening, October 24, Swedish media circulated sensational news – researchers from the Vrak Museum found the wreck of the Äpplet ship from 1629! The sailing ship, commissioned by King Gustav II Adolf, was a sister vessel to the legendary Vasa ship.
Scientists from the Stockholm Vrak museum have performed a number of tests and confirmed thatthe discovered wreck is indeed Äpplet. Working at the site, the marine archaeologists collected measurement data, technical details of the ship and wood samples, among other things. They also cross-referenced the documentation they created with sources available in archives. Therefore, when they officially released information about the wreck, they were already absolutely sure that it was Vasa’s sister ship.
The story of finding the wreck goes back to December 2021. At that time, marine archaeologists from the Vrak Museum collaborated several times with the Swedish Navy to explore the strait off Vaxholm, one of the islands near Stockholm. It was here that they discovered the wreck of a huge ship, which momentarily fired the imagination. After all, it’s not every day that a huge and previously unknown wreck that is several hundred years old is found.
The mysterious wreck, in addition to being of great size, was in not the best condition. Part of the strand had fallen away from the whole and was resting nearby on the bottom. Nevertheless, as the researchers point out, the hull itself was preserved up to the lower gun deck. Closer inspection of the site made it possible to determine an important design feature of the ship – it had gun decks. This was a very important clue, since the first ship on which a similar solution was used was Vasa. Since her wreck had long since been found and retrieved from the sea, it was necessary to look further, but this was already a somewhat simpler task.
We were extremely excited when we saw how similar the wreck was to the Vasa. Both the design and the massive dimensions seemed very familiar. The hope of finding one of Vasa’s sister ships germinated in us – said Jim Hansson, a marine archaeologist at the Vrak Museum.
Then, in the spring of 2022, archaeologists returned to the wreck and conducted a more meticulous survey of the site. The collected data was carefully analyzed and left no doubt – the wreck of the Äpplet ship had been found! The researchers stressed that this is an extremely important discovery. The wreck is a great source of knowledge about boatbuilding, history and Swedish cultural heritage.
In the 17th century, the Kingdom of Sweden fought a series of wars with the Republic. Wanting to dominate operations in the Baltic Sea, King Gustav II Adolf signed a contract in 1625 to build two large warships, the Vasa and the Äpplet. The Vasa ship was the first to be built and launched in March 1627. Unfortunately for the Swedes, the king’s impatience to send the vessel into battle as soon as possible proved disastrous. A series of design errors resulted in the instant sinking of the Vasa on August 10, 1628, as soon as the ship caught a stronger gust of wind in her sails.
For those interested in the details of this discovery, we recommend the online broadcast, which will be conducted at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26 by marine archaeologists from the Vrak Museum. During it, they will talk about the history of the Äpplet ship. You can find more information at Vrak Museum’s dedicated website.
Photo: Jim Hansson/ VRAK / SMTM
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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