Archaeologists find medieval ship and German ceramics in Enköping

A team of archaeologists have found parts of a centuries-old ship in the central Swedish town of Enköping.

Archaeologists find medieval ship and German ceramics in Enköping
A cog dating back to the 13th century. Photo: SHM Arkeologerna/Upplandsmuseet

The finds include parts of a merchant vessel, a cog, dating back to the 13th century, as well as some imported German and Danish ceramics, possibly brought to Sweden on the same ship.

This could be evidence that Enköping was an important trade city in the Mälardalen area, archaeologist and project manager Emelie Sunding told The Local.

The archaeologists in the middle of the excavation. Photo: SHM Arkeologerna/Upplandsmuseet

In medieval times, Enköping was close to the shoreline, with a beach located in what is now the city centre. That location made the town a crucial international location for medieval trade.

After the outbreak of the Black Plague in the 14th centrury, though, Enköping's importance was lost in history, which Sunding said makes the new findings even more exciting. 

“They can help us restore history a bit,” she said.

A rudder belonging to another boat from the 14th century. Photo: SHM Arkeologerna/Upplandsmuseet

“We have been excavating many soil deposits and found lots of remains,” said Sunding, whose team has been carrying out digs in the area for over a year.

These remains have included parts of 16th-century living quarters and traces of urban cultivation during the 12th and 13th centuries. An analysis of the cultural layer from that period then showed that the people cultivated plants. The archaeologists will now continue searching for remains in the deeper soil deposits. 

“We are not quite done yet,” said Sunding. “In fact, we are expecting to excavate some older remains, which could date back to the 10th century.”

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