More than 500 years after its sinking, a Danish ship continues to reveal its secrets.
In an article published in the
Journal of Archeological Science: Reports
, researchers explain that they carried out a new exploration in the wreck of the
, which sank in the Baltic Sea in 1495. They discovered the remains of an Atlantic sturgeon there. two meters long, one of the gifts that King Hans of Denmark intended to offer to the Kingdom of Sweden.
In the summer of 1495, the ship was sailing in the Baltic Sea, between Copenhagen and Kalmar, Sweden.
On board, King Hans of Denmark, and a precious cargo that the king wanted to offer to Sten Sture the Elder, then regent of Sweden.
According to an article by
, the Danish sovereign wanted to impress his Swedish counterpart and take away his throne.
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Only then, the ship never arrived at its destination.
A fire broke out while the
was off the Swedish town of Ronneby, causing her to be wrecked.
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The king, who was not then on board, was saved.
But neither the crew nor the precious cargo were spared.
Since then, the wreck of the Gribshunden has rested ten meters deep, off the Swedish coast.
It was found there in the 1970s, in an excellent state of preservation.
In the Baltic, all the conditions were met for the ship to be preserved: a low oxygen level, the low salinity of the water and the absence of organisms attacking the wood.
In the barrel, the researchers found pieces of fish belonging to a two-meter-long sturgeon.
Lund University / Science Direct
The carcass has thus survived the centuries without being altered.
In the course of their research, scientists have made many discoveries there.
In 2019, they extracted a wooden barrel containing fish remains.
"This is an exciting discovery because you usually don't find fish kept this way in a barrel,"
Stella Macheridis, a researcher at Lund University in Sweden, said in a statement.
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Through morphological and genetic analyzes, scientists established that the remains belonged to a sturgeon about two meters long.
This species is thought to be derived from the Atlantic sturgeon, a freshwater fish that has now disappeared from the Baltic Sea and is considered endangered.
A propaganda tool
In the Middle Ages, the sturgeon was a coveted fish, especially for its eggs, skin and bladder.
The king's reserve sturgeon was a propaganda tool, like the entire ship
," said Brendan P. Foley, an underwater archaeologist who coordinated the explorations and co-author of the study.
Everything on this boat served a political function, which is another element that makes this discovery particularly interesting
seems to be an inexhaustible source of discoveries, further underwater explorations should take place in the coming years.
The previous ones have already allowed the discovery of cannons, chain mail, crossbows as well as a wooden figurehead representing a mythical crocodile-like creature devouring a human.