800-year-old shipwreck found off Sweden’s coast

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An 800-year-old shipwreck has been found by divers off the south coast of Sweden, prompting speculation it may be a Viking ship laden with treasure. 

Two parts of the shipwreck found in the Baltic Sea at Sturko [Credit: Kalmar Lans Museum]

NewsCore reports that the vessel was found in the Baltic Sea at Sturko by a team led by Lars Einarsson, an underwater archaeologist at Kalmar Lans museum.  It is said to have been “virtually buried” on the sea floor. 

An examination of the wreck have suggested the wood used to make it was cut down between the years 1250 and 1300.  It is described as narrow, measuring 46 feet by 7 feet, and “would have been sleek and fast, and most likely used for attacking and looting,” Sweden’s The Local reports. 

“This is an extraordinary medieval wreck,” Einarsson told the news service.  “We really want to determine why the ship was abandoned. We want to know if it was dramatic, or whether it was just left because the ship became too old-fashioned. If it was left under dramatic circumstances, who knows what treasures the insides of the ship may hold?” 

However, Einarsson said it was unlikely to be a Viking ship, according to News.com.au. 

“It was built in the same style as the Viking ships, but that’s not saying much – some ships on Norway’s west coast are still built in that style. This is certainly a medieval wreck, and this is exciting as there haven’t been many found from this time,” he says. 

It is now up to the Kalmar county administrative board to decide whether it will undertake the huge cost of excavating the ship. 

Source: Global Post [June 18, 2012]

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