A team of archaeologists examining the Baltic Sea have found an incredibly well-preserved ancient ship that seems to have suffered rather minor damage.
Divers from Finland have discovered a 400-year old ship on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, which offers a unique view into the boating history of the 1600s. The ship is an instance of a Dutch fluyt – or fluit – and was found close to the opening of the Gulf of Finland, in the east of the Baltic Sea.
Researchers have discovered numerous ocean artifacts around that region as the Baltic Sea is among the few places in the world where wooden ships can be conserved almost perfectly: because of the almost freezing temperatures, microorganisms cannot flourish, which means there’s less damage made to the ship.
That’s why many ships were found in the area, as per the researchers of the Badewanne diving team, who say that the region was an important trade route in the 17th century. The vessel in question was discovered at a depth of 85 meters (~279 feet) and has only shown minimal damage.
First of this Kind of Ship Design
A statement from Badewanne said: “There is only slight damage from a pelagic trawl. The trawl seems to have swept her from the bow towards the aft, dislocating the stem, damaging the poop deck, and the topmost part of the typical Fluit transom somewhat. Apart from these damages, the wreck is intact, holds are full, and all side planking is firmly in place.”
The discovery could unveil some important facts about the Scandinavian region in the 1600s, as most ships at the time were either cargo or war vessels. Still, fluyts were among the first cargo ships with that design – they were incredibly spacious and only needed small crews to maximize space and enhance profitability.
More excavations of the sunken vessel could reveal why these boats started to become less popular with time.
Maritime archaeologist Niklas Eriksson from the University of Stockholm in Sweden, said: “The wreck reveals many of the characteristics of the fluit but also some unique features, not least the construction of the stern. It might be that this is an early example of the design. The wreck thus offers a unique opportunity to investigate the development of a ship type that sailed all over the world and became the tool that laid the foundation for early modern globalization.”