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14th-Century Shipwreck Found in Stockholm

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  • Amy Heilveil
    14th-Century Shipwreck Found in Stockholm By MATTIAS KAREN, Associated Press Writer Thu Mar 2, 8:52 PM ET STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Archeologists have found a
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2006
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      14th-Century Shipwreck Found in Stockholm
      By MATTIAS KAREN, Associated Press Writer
      Thu Mar 2, 8:52 PM ET


      STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Archeologists have found a shipwreck from the late
      1300s buried in the mud of a bay in central Stockholm, officials said
      Thursday.

      They are now awaiting permission to excavate the wreckage � one of the
      oldest ever found in the Swedish capital � hoping it will shed light on
      shipbuilding techniques and trade in the 14th century.

      Experts say they might be able to bring the ship up on land, as was done
      with the 17th century warship Vasa, which is now housed in a museum that
      is one of Stockholm's main tourist attractions.

      Parts of the wreckage are protruding from the brackish sediment at a
      depth of about 30 feet in the Riddarfjarden bay leading into the heart
      of Stockholm, National Maritime Museum officials said.

      Archeologists found it last year when examining the planned site for a
      new train tunnel. They have now dated the ship to between 1350 and
      1370, and believe it sank sometime in the 1390s.

      "This is really exciting," said Marcus Hjulhammar, project leader for
      the museum.

      "What is so special is that it is under water, here in Stockholm," he
      said. "That makes it much more likely that it is well-preserved than if
      it had been on land."

      Shipwrecks have a decent chance of being well-preserved in the low-salt
      waters of the Stockholm archipelago because of the lack of wood-eating
      shipworms.

      If the entire ship � the size and type of which are unclear � is still
      intact, its cargo could give historians a better idea of trading that
      took place in the area at the time.

      There is a large crack in the hull, which had been covered by a piece of
      leather that had been nailed to the boards, Hjulhammar said.

      "That is a sign that this ship was very worn down, and it is possible
      that this repair work is part of the reason it sank," he said. "My
      spontaneous reaction was that the repair was rather clumsily done."

      The museum is awaiting permission from the county government to dig out
      the remaining parts of the ship, Hjulhammar said. They would then
      decide whether it is possible to bring it up on land.

      "But it depends on how eroded it is," he said. "It may turn out that it
      is better to let her lie."

      ___

      On the Net:

      Museum Web site: http://www.maritima.se


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