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article imageViking-era shipwreck found off the coast of Sweden

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 19, 2012 in World
A centuries-old shipwreck has been discovered lying underneath the waters of Sweden's coastline. The remains of the boat have been estimated to be about 800 years old.
According to The Local, the wreck was found in the Baltic Sea by divers off Sweden's southern coast of Sturkö, near Karlskrona. At this point experts do not know whether or not it was a bona fide Viking ship, but the timeframe is the same.
Lars Einarsson, underwater archaeologist at the Kalmar County museum told The Local, “It was built in the same style as the Viking ships, but that’s not saying much – some ships on Norway’s west coast are still built in that style. This is certainly a medieval wreck, and this is exciting as there haven’t been many found from this time.”
According to Swedish publication Svenska Dagbladet, archeologists have known about the ship for a while now, however, they have just recently received the dendro dating.
Einarsson said wood from the ship's remains has been dated to have been cut down in the time frame of 1250 and 1300. The ship measures 14 by 2 meters, and is located at a depth of 1.8 meters.
Archaeologists are now curious about what prospective treasures may be hidden inside. At this point, the ship's history, and secrets the vessel may carry, are unknown.
"This is an extraordinary medieval wreck," Einarsson told the media. “We really want to determine why the ship was abandoned. We want to know if it was dramatic, or whether it was just left because the ship became too old-fashioned. If it was left under dramatic circumstances, who knows what treasures the insides of the ship may hold?"
The ship is not easy to access because it is almost totally buried beneath the seafloor, making it difficult for divers to access.
“When the divers recovered fragments for dating, they were literally ‘looking’ with their hands,” Einarsson said. He noted the sediment was "so easily disturbed", this was challenging for divers to see what they were doing.
Right now it is uncertain whether or not the shipwreck will be excavated. The Kalmar county administrative board will be making the decision of whether or not to invest efforts into exploring the relic.
Einarsson noted the potential contents of the ship might make the project feasible and worth the investment.
“If it was left under dramatic circumstances, who knows what treasures the insides of the ship may hold? The contents would be tremendously helpful in making a connection to the cultural and historical context of the ship.”
He also noted there are likely many other wrecks found off Swedish shores. Earlier media reports indicate this is the case and who knows how many more undiscovered pieces of history lie beneath the Baltic Sea, and other waters.
Digital Journal reported in 2009 on a Viking-era wreck found in Swedish waters. In Oct. 2011, a Viking burial boat was found, fully intact, in the Scottish Highlands. Explorers found the Viking chief and the treasure with which he was buried.
Earlier this month, another group of divers found in the Baltic Sea what is believed to possibly be the remains of the Resande Man, a Swedish royal navy ship from 17th century.
More about Viking, Shipwrecks, Shipwreck, Vikings, Sweden
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