Still Intact Renaissance Shipwreck Discovered On The Baltic Seabed

Conny Waters - - An international team of scientists report a discovery of the remains of an intact and astonishingly preserved Early Modern Period  (Late 15th – early 16th Century) shipwreck in the Baltic.

The unknown shipwreck - probably the best preserved shipwreck of its period to - was first detected with sonar by the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) in 2009 and researchers reported an anomalous blip on the Baltic seafloor.

“This ship is contemporary to the times of Christopher Columbus and Leonardo Da Vinci, yet it demonstrates a remarkable level of preservation after five hundred years at the bottom of the sea, thanks to the cold, brackish waters of the Baltic,” Dr Pacheco-Ruiz, MMT’s maritime archaeologist and deep sea archaeological expert, said in a press release.

“It’s almost like it sank yesterday – masts in place and hull intact. Still on the main deck is an incredibly rare find – the tender boat, used to ferry crew to and from the ship, leaning against the main mast. It’s a truly astonishing sight.”

See also:

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The dating of this wreck underlines the importance of the discovery. It is rare to find a ship in such an astonishing condition that predates the larger and more powerful vessels involved in the later Northern Seven Year’s Wars (1563-1570).

The newly found wreck lies on the seabed with her hull structure preserved from the keel to the top deck and all of her masts and some elements of the standing rigging still in place. Clearly visible are the bowsprit and a rudimentary decorated transom stern, as well as other rarely seen elements, such as the wooden capstan and bilge pump.

Photogrammetric model of the ship's stern. Credit: Deep Sea Productions/MMTPhotogrammetric model of the ship's stern. Credit: Deep Sea Productions/MMT

The project to explore this wreck demonstrates the ongoing, successful partnership between MMT and the University of Southampton, which has also recently been showcased in the discovery and archaeological survey of more than 65 perfectly preserved shipwrecks in the Black Sea.

Some of the wrecks date back to Ottoman, Byzantine Roman and Greek periods, found at depths of more than 2,000m as a result of a rich collaboration between industry and academic research.

For this latest survey in the Baltic, MMT welcomed students of maritime archaeology from the University of Southampton, as well as students developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) for subsea robotics from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), to join the expedition team on-board Stril Explorer.

Written by Conny Waters - Staff Writer