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Five shipwrecks found in central Stockholm

AFP/The Local · 20 Dec 2011, 08:21

Published: 20 Dec 2011 08:21 GMT+01:00

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“I've never before come across so many well-preserved artifacts,” Jim Hansson, project leader for the museum's dig, said in a statement, citing rigging, tools, hand-blown glass, and coins among the items found at the site.

“It's going to be exciting as we move forward, but also a challenge to carry out this sort of examination in the winter time.”

According to the museum, the five wrecks date from the 1500s to 1700s and were unearthed in connnection with renovations being carried out on Strömkajen near Stockholm's historic Grand Hotel, a popular destination for tourists visiting the Swedish capital.

"The discoveries shed light on the naval shipyard where among others the royal warship Vasa was built and on various periods of the city's history," the museum said.

The ships are in good condition, with several of them measuring 20 meters (66 feet) in length.

Archeologists were also delighted with other discoveries made near the ships.

"The findings, which include tools and household items, reveal how people lived in Stockholm in the 1500s and early 1600s," Andreas Olsson, in charge of archeology at the museum, told Swedish news agency TT.

It is not known why the ships sank.

“Because the wrecks ended up there during a time when the shipyard was in use, they may have had something to do with the navy,” Olsson, said in a statement.

The five wrecks are from the same site where the remains of another ship dating from the 1600s were uncovered last year

That vessel was built with an almost completely unknown technology, whereby the planks of the ship were sewn together with rope, rather than nailed down.

Story continues below…

With the exception of another ship found in 1896, all other shipwrecks uncovered in and around the Stockholm harbour have featured planks that were nailed together.

Earlier this year, Sweden celebrated the 50th anniversary of the raising of the Vasa, a 17th century royal warship that was the jewel of the Swedish navy when it sank in a Stockholm harbour just minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628.

It is now housed in a Stockholm museum built especially for it, and is the biggest tourist attraction in Sweden.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:32 December 20, 2011 by byke
I wonder if the planned renovation will be delayed due to these new discoveries and how much its going to cost the tax payer in said delays?
12:07 December 20, 2011 by spo10

More that we can ever imagine probably.
16:41 December 20, 2011 by philster61
I hope that they turn the site into some sort of museum. History is wonderful
20:01 December 20, 2011 by viennacalling
that is a great discovery!

yes I agree th whole site should now become a public trust / museum

just a clue with the rope binding technology is very early egyptian, they are known to have built ships exceeding 20 metres but there has never been any proof that the sailed past gibraltar spain
20:12 December 20, 2011 by maxbrando
Just wait until they start looking on the floor of the Venice lagoon!! Bring it on. Oh, the glory that was Venice! From the year 330 A.D to 1798 A.D, and never concoured by sea. (Napoleon never set foot in the place.)
21:47 December 20, 2011 by dizzymoe33
This is very cool!!!
16:38 December 22, 2011 by Åskar
@philster61 and viennacalling

It's quite impossible to make a museum of that site as it is the home harbour of Waxholmbolaget's fleet of boats that service the archipelago outside Stockholm.
03:54 December 24, 2011 by SecondGen
How could the Vasa be "a 17th century royal warship that was the jewel of the Swedish navy" if it sank on it's maiden voyage and never made it out of the harbor?

As a side note, I visited it in 1975 and now that I see it's in a new location, I guess I should strive to visit it again (I assume they still let you walk on the decks?)
01:01 December 25, 2011 by SuperTulle

Well, it was supposed to be the jewel of the navy, and it certainly was while under construction.

However, I'm afraid that Vasa is now off-limits to everyday visitors. The preservation method was not 100% effective, and to preserve the ship you're only allowed to look on it nowadays. But please revisit! 35 years is a long time, and I can promise you that the current museum is better than the temporary one you visited.
12:28 December 28, 2011 by Åskar

I think they are presently expanding the museum, so wait a while until they're ready.
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