Researchers from Denmark discover three sunken ships on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Although it has been in the water for hundreds of years, you can still see the details.
Thyborøn – Researchers from Denmark have made a sensational find in the Baltic Sea. They discovered three ships on the seabed east of the Swedish island of Gotland. The special thing: They looked as if they had just sunk, even though the wrecks had been in the water for hundreds of years.
“That moment when you suddenly see a huge ship appearing in front of you 150 meters down there in total darkness in the light of the underwater robot on the camera screen – that’s indescribable,” says David John Gregory from the Danish National Museum when he arrived think back on the find. “A total ‘wow’ experience, and almost eerie at the same time.”
Hundreds of years in the water and almost intact: Ships that have sunk in the Baltic Sea amaze experts
Gregory and 26 colleagues set out in November with an expedition ship and a diving robot to explore the Baltic Sea. After a few days, they discovered a ship at a depth of 150 meters that was lying almost undamaged on the seabed. A few nautical miles away, marine archaeologists found two more wrecks that were just as well preserved as the first.
“When you find wrecks in shallow water, often only the bottom of the ship is preserved. You can spend hours looking at the many details of these three ships,” says ship expert and marine archaeologist Christian Lemée. Even a tiny dragon figure is clearly visible under the bowsprit of one of the ships. A shipwreck from World War II found in the Baltic Sea in 2020 was similarly well preserved.
Third wreck sank later than the other two
The scientists strongly suspect that two ships are Dutch merchant ships. One measures 25 to 27 meters and dates from the late 17th or early 18th century. The smaller one is 16 to 17 meters long and dates from the 17th century. But the third wreck, which the researchers call “cannon wreck”, puzzles them.
It probably dates from the second half of the 18th century and comes – as the expedition leader Gert Normann Andersen from the Sea War Museum Jutland and his team suspect – from Scandinavia, possibly Sweden. What it was used for and why it sank is still a mystery. The researchers did not discover any holes in the ship’s hull. According to Lemée, an attack should not have been the cause of the sinking.
Mini cannons on Baltic Sea wreck puzzle researchers
The expert suspects another reason. “I think maybe the crew had set all sails and the ship was going very fast,” he said. A sudden change in the weather and a strong gust of wind could have capsized the ship. A long-lost Swedish warship was deliberately sunk
Interesting: There are several wooden barrels on the deck, as well as five small cannons, which are so small that they probably only served as a deterrent, Lemée suspected. “This is not a warship, more like a high-end merchant ship. The wooden barrels could have been used to duck behind in case of an attack.” A long-lost Swedish warship was also recently discovered in the Baltic Sea.
The researchers even found the ship’s lifeboat in the depths. “This indicates that the crew did not disembark in time,” said Lemée. “So this could also be a human tragedy that we are facing here.”
The Baltic Sea is known for its numerous well-preserved shipwrecks
The Baltic Sea is known for its numerous, well-preserved shipwrecks. Fritz Jürgens, an expert in underwater archeology at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, explains the reason for this: “In the lower layers, the oxygen content is so low that the shipworm has not been able to survive well here.” Wrecks free – such as the long-missing frigate “Gloucester”.
But that could not remain the case for much longer. The shipworm is actually a species of mussel that infests old wood. In contrast to the North Sea, the Baltic Sea was largely spared. But Jürgens observes a progressive adaptation of the mussels to the low salt content, which is harmful to them. “In the Kiel area, we’re already noticing that.” But there are other treasures slumbering in the sea. This is how an archaeologist found the Nazi cipher machine Enigma. (mt)
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