History | November 9, 2019 1:58 pm

Warships Tied to Swedish Vessel Vasa Discovered Underwater

Where military history meets maritime archaeology

Sweden's Vasa is an impressive sight.
Nick Lott/Creative Commons

If you’ve spent any time in Stockholm, you’ve probably visited the Vasa Museum, home to a massive 17th-century warship, the Vasa, that was recovered from its underwater resting place in 1961. Turns out the massiveness of the Vasa made it a bit too heavy to actually sail properly, making its maiden voyage also its only voyage — and killing 30 people along the way.

Now, however, scientists have discovered a pair of warships from the same era — and they may have a deep connection to the Vasa.

The Guardian reports that a pair of newly-discovered shipwrecks near the town of Vaxholm may include sibling vessels of the Vasa: “Three other ships – Applet, Kronan and Scepter – were ordered from the same shipwright, and all served in the Swedish navy and participated in battles.”

Maritime archaeologists have taken timber samples from the ships, which should allow them to determine just which vessels these are. The Baltic Sea is an ideal environment for ships to be preserved due to the composition of its waters; The Guardian reports that these newly-discovered ships are unlikely to be moved from there. The means by which the Vasa has been preserved outside of the water are fascinating to read about, and take up a page on the Vasa Museum’s website.

These new findings may well give historians a better picture of the military power of Sweden in bygone days — and offer more clues as to how archaic vessels can survive underwater for so long. 

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