Mysterious shipwreck found near Sweden full of household items dates back to 14th century
New details have emerged surrounding the mysterious wreckage of two medieval ships found off the coast of Sweden last spring. Researchers have finally determined their age and distant origins.
The merchant ships were spotted near the construction of a railway tunnel in Varberg, about 120 miles north of Copenhagen, according to a Nov. 16 press release from Arkeologirna, an archaeological consultancy.
According to archaeologists, the ships were known as cogs, a common medieval ship type.
According to the Estonian Mere Museum website, cogs were “large, with a spacious hold, and most often fitted with a mast and a large square sail”.
The remains of the ships were found about 30 feet apart in what archaeologists say is a highly unusual occurrence. One of the wrecks consists of a nearly intact port side, making it the best preserved cog wreck ever found in Sweden.
Months after archaeologists first discovered it, wood samples from the wreck were finally analyzed and the results answered unanswered questions.
The larger ship, known as Varbergskoggen 1, was built with timber dating back to 1346, archaeologists said. The wood was sourced hundreds of kilometers away in the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
The smaller ship, known as Varbergskoggen 2, was built between 1355 and 1357 using trees from northern Poland, meaning that while the ships share a final resting place, they were sourced from different countries.
The researchers are not yet sure why or how the pair of ships sank.
According to the Maritime Injury Center, bad weather, collisions, flooding and the shifting of improperly stored cargo are some of the top reasons for ships sinking.
Soil samples could eventually reveal the types of food and other cargo stowed on board, archaeologists said, which could provide further answers about the ships’ final voyages.
A variety of household items found in the wreck, including leather shoes, wooden spoons and engraved barrels, could also help researchers further unravel the mystery of the sunken ships.
At least several other ancient shipwrecks have been discovered off the coast of Sweden in recent years.
A 500-year-old ship full of soldiers and Danish nobles was found off the coast of southern Sweden in 2021, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
And in October, archaeologists announced that another Swedish shipwreck had been rediscovered by divers, according to previous McClatchy News reports. Wood samples led researchers to conclude the wreck was the Äpplet, a 17th-century warship commissioned by a Swedish king.
Google Translate was used to translate Arkeologirna’s press release.
Warship wreck – sunk by the Navy over 300 years ago – rediscovered in Sweden
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