An archaeological group in Sweden has located the remains of a 17th-century battle ship, the Museum of Wrecks, or Vrak, said Monday.
The Swedish navy has a long history of working with marine archaeologists. They helped with the research and they had to work with marine archeologists to find out what happened to this ship. Vrak’s marine archeologists are specialists in underwater archaeology and they have a lot of experience in finding sunken ships. Since this discovery, they have been working closely with the Swedish navy to find out what happened to this particular ship.
The ship, which is called Äpplet, was one of four warships that sank off the coast of Finland in 1676. Äpplet is the first warship from this period to be found in Sweden and is thought to be one of four warships that were built by King Gustavus Adolphus. The wreck of Äpplet, one of the vessels, has not been identified by maritime archaeologists for a long time.
In 1659, the ship sank off the coast of what is now known as Stockholm archipelago. It has been lying on the seabed ever since, but it has now been discovered by archaeologists who have been exploring this area for many years.
Why the Ship sank?
Both vessels were created by shipmaker Hein Jacobsson, who improved the Vasa’s poor design that made it difficult to navigate, the museum said.
Äpplet was intentionally sunk in Vaxholm, Sweden, in 1659 after serving in the Thirty Years’ War as a poor design. It was discovered by marine archaeologists working with the Swedish navy in December 2021, but they only identified it as Äpplet in April of this year after a more in-depth study of the ship’s measurements, structure, wood samples, and archives. As Patrik Höglund, a maritime archaeologist at Vrak, told CNN, the discovery was ‘incredible’ because ‘we didn’t think anything would be left of wrecks in the area.’
Archaeologists believed that the seabed had been covered with stones in the 1800s and dredged in the early 1900s, so they didn’t think there would be anything else to discover, Hansson said. Because the wreck’s design and dimensions matched Vasa’s so closely, the archaeologists’ pulses raced, he said. The oak used in Vasa’s construction was sourced from Stockholm’s Mälaren Valley, where the timber was felled in 1627.
How it will Help Swedish Shipbuilding?
The Vaxholm shipwrecks discovered in 2019 were deemed to be the remains of Äpplet by Vrak archaeologists, but their identification as the vessels Apollo and Maria, constructed in 1648, has now been confirmed. The hull of the vessel, up to the lower battery deck, is said to be in excellent condition, with six to seven meters (20-23 feet) of it visible on the seabed.
According to Hansson, the finding is “another significant piece of the puzzle in Swedish shipbuilding.” Höglund concurs, noting that Äpplet will provide insight into how “great powers like Sweden rose to prominence in the 1600s by controlling the Baltic Sea through its great warships built from Vasa wood.”
There are no plans to salvage the Äpplet wreck, but they will create a three-dimensional image of it. Because the wreck is in a military zone, diving is forbidden unless accompanied by Swedish navy divers.