MMarine archaeologists have discovered a sunken 17th-century warship in Stockholm’s archipelago. It is the wreck of the “Äpplet” (The Apple), the sister ship of the “Vasa”, as the wreck museum “Vrak” announced on Monday. Among other things, technical details and wood samples have confirmed that the ship that was sunk in 1659 had actually been found. This is a discovery that is unique in the world.
In a strait near the island of Vaxholm east of Stockholm, archaeologists from the museum, in cooperation with the Swedish Navy, kept looking for wrecks. At the end of 2021, a mighty shipwreck was discovered there. Parts of the walls had fallen to the seabed, but the hull was otherwise intact. The collapsed sides of the wreck showed hatches on two different levels, and scientists concluded that it was a warship with two gun decks.
Wreck Museum speaks of a unique find
“Our pulse rose when we saw how similar the wreck was to the Vasa,” said marine archaeologist Jim Hansson, according to the museum statement. “The hope of finding one of the Vasa’s sister ships has kindled in us.”
Now the name Vasa is inseparable from the history of Stockholm. A war galleon with the name of the Swedish royal dynasty Vasa (also German: Wasa) sank in 1628 on the maiden voyage shortly after leaving the port. In the middle of the 20th century she was rediscovered in the Stockholm harbor basin – almost completely preserved. It has been exhibited in the world-famous Vasa Museum on the Stockholm island of Djurgården since 1990.
And the applet? In 1625, the then Swedish King Gustav II Adolf ordered the construction of four warships, including two large and two smaller ones. One of the two large ships was the “Vasa” – the other the “Äpplet”, which was launched a year after her sister ship. In contrast to the “Vasa”, she stayed afloat for years, which also had to do with the fact that shipbuilder Hein Jacobsson had learned from the design flaws of the “Vasa” and built the “Äpplet” a little wider. Sweden could also count on them in the Thirty Years’ War against Germany.
Sister ship is to remain on the seabed
After the war, however, the Swedes decided to sink the Äpplet. She became part of an underwater barrier designed to prevent enemies from reaching Stockholm by sea. Since then it has been lying at the bottom of the archipelago, where, according to the wreck museum, wood samples were taken during several dives this spring. It turned out that the oak for shipbuilding in 1627 had been felled in the same region as the wood for the “Vasa” a few years earlier.
“The dimensions, construction details, wood samples and archival material all pointed in the same direction,” said Patrik Höglund, another marine archaeologist at the museum. “Fantastic, we found the “Vasa” sister ship “Äpplet”. Unlike the “Vasa”, however, she should probably remain on the seabed. She is doing best down there, Hansson told the TT news agency.
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