Swedish archaeologists push for shipwreck excavation

Swedish archaeologists are keen to secure funding to excavate an 800-year-old shipwreck that was discovered off the country’s south coast. The long, narrow vessel, which was found close to Sturkö, is almost completely buried, meaning excavation will be difficult.

“When the divers recovered fragments for dating, they were literally ‘looking’ with their hands,” underwater archaeologist for the Kalmar County Museum, Lars Einarsson, told The Local. “The sediment is so easily disturbed that it makes it almost impossible to see what you’re doing. In some ways, it would be easier if the ship was 10 times deeper.”

“This is an extraordinary medieval wreck. We’ve found that the wood was cut down between 1250 and 1300,” Einarsson said, adding that the 14 by two metre vessel would have been very fast and therefore probably used for looting.

The Kalmar County Council must now decide whether or not to fund the enormous task of excavating the ship, but Einarsson feels the investment could be very worthwhile.

“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,” he told The Local. “If it was left under dramatic circumstances, who knows what treasures the insides of the ship may hold? The contents would be tremendously helpful in making a connection to the cultural and historical context of the ship.”