Divers find 16th century Baltic Sea shipwreck off Sweden
Aug 19, 2011, 16:56 GMT
Stockholm - A team of divers Friday announced they have found the shipwreck of a 16th century Swedish warship that sank off the country's eastern coast.
The vessel was believed to be the warship Mars that sank during a battle in May 1564 between the Swedish navy and a fleet from Denmark and the German Hanseatic League, Richard Lundgren of the team told Swedish broadcaster SVT.
'It was designed to be the largest and meanest vessel (of its day),' Lundgren said.
The vessel built of oak had a crew of 800 and was armed with about 100 bronze cannon.
'This is a shipwreck we have long waited for,' Andreas Olsson, head of the archealogical unit at the Maritime Museum, said, adding futher research was necessary to determine if it really was the Mars.
Olsson described the find as 'very interesting,' not the least in comparing its shipbuilding technology with that of the 17th century warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage out of Stockholm in 1628 and the Mary Rose that sank off the English coast in 1545.
The Baltic Sea does not have shipworm, a kind of mollusk that eats timber, suggesting that researchers could possibly find preserved artifacts from the 16th century on the wreck.
The wreck also benefited from the Baltic Sea's low oxygen content and low water temperature.
The find could be compared to 'jumping into a time-machine,' Lundgren said, adding that his team had been searching for the vessel for some 20 years.
Local authorities Friday issued a ban against diving, fishing or anchoring near the wreck located north of the Baltic Sea island of Oland.