13th Century Shipwreck Found Near Gothenburg

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According to a fresh press release from the County Museum of Bohuslän in Uddevalla, western Sweden, the museum’s maritime archaeologists are studying a well-preserved shipwreck whose construction date lies in the AD 1210s or 1220s.

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The shipwreck is in shallow water in the Jore fjord and was identified on aerial photographs by the local firm HydroGIS Ltd, whose staff reported it to the museum. HydroGIS also provided the photographs shown here.

Dendroanatomical measurements have not only proven the wreck to be the oldest known to date along the Bohuslän coast, but have also shown that the trees involved grew in western Germany or Belgium. This in all likelihood pinpoints the shipyard’s location.

Let’s hope the museum’s Staffan von Arbin and his people get funding to excavate the site!

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15 thoughts on “13th Century Shipwreck Found Near Gothenburg

  1. Finding anything you could make money out of on the site is highly unlikely. My guess is that there will mostly be potsherds, perhaps a few rusted iron bars. Textiles and goods packed in barrels would have floated away. Precious metals were not shipped in any great volumes in that area and era.


  2. i’m amazed a wreck that shallow and not silted over hasn’t been found by boaters, divers, or swimmers long before now.


  3. Probably very little of it protrudes above the sea floor. But I’m sure lots of people have found the wreck through the centuries. It’s just that nobody’s reported it to a maritime archaeologist before. Cf. the 1492 “discovery” of the Americas…


  4. Here’s hoping the “treasure hunters” understand those facts. I wish all such press releases could include statements to this effect, plus reminders about the importance of archeological context—just to take advantage of every chance in hell to increase public awareness. (Maybe this one does, but I can’t read it.) Very cool aerials.


  5. Shipwrecks like other ancient monuments and remains are accessible in FMIS (The Archaeological Sites and Monuments database) and the press release don’t add any (geographical) information that is not all ready open and public. Shipwrecks and other (pre)historic sites are best protected by law and knowledge, not by secrecy.


  6. Most of Jorefjorden is now quite shallow. I wonder how much land rise there has been in the area since the 13th century. Martin (or others): do you know of a good resource to get a figure for total land rise by area? I know it varies quite a lot along the coast, so it would have to be reasonably local.

    Since Jorefjorden is just a stone’s throw from Hamburgö (Hamburg Island), I thought: “Wow, maybe the place has been named because of its very long-standing trade relations with Northern Germany?” A little googling later, I had learned that the etymology has nothing to do with Hamburg, the city, but rather with the shape of the island…


  7. It’s just that nobody’s reported it to a maritime archaeologist before. Cf. the 1492 “discovery” of the Americas…

    Damn, Sb really needs to get a “like” button.


  8. Thinker, I know nothing about West Coast shoreline displacement. But Dr. Johan Ling recently showed in his thesis that the contour curves on standard Lantmäteriet maps are often 10-20 m off horizontally, making it difficult to use them to reconstruct ancient shorelines. He works with Bronze Age rock art though.

    Thanks Bob!


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