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Warships on course for exploration

news
2021-04-24
Next year, the city of Karlskrona is planning to open a dive park. Maritime archaeologists from Vrak – Museum of Wrecks are currently on site examining the shipwrecks that will be part of the park. The wrecks are from ships ranging in size from enormous warships to smaller craft, and all have sailed in the fleet now submerged in the waters outside the city. Recreational divers and other tourists are sure to have an amazing experience.

Last autumn, investigations of an area containing several wrecks began that will be part of a dive park in the strait of Djupasund, outside Karlskrona. The museum’s maritime archaeologists resumed their dives this week and were pleasantly surprised.

“We’ve had fantastic visibility and have seen some really awesome wrecks,” says an enthusiastic Jim Hansson, maritime archaeologist.


New finds

Djupasund is a major fairway into the naval city of Karlskrona, now a World Heritage Site. Maritime archaeologists can see how ships were scuttled and installed as barriers over several periods from the 1780s until the mid-19th century in the strait between Sturkö and Tjurkö.

From archival records, the archaeologists gleaned that a ship-of-the-line from the shipbuilder Chapman, Wasa, was sunk in Djupasund. But they have documented other relatively intact wrecks of warships of different kinds, from both the 17th and 18th centuries.

“We’ve seen several huge ships. We were aware of about five of them, but we discovered another wreck and some kind of facility,” he continues.

 

Threats from foreign shores

Between 1810 and 1812, much of the British navy was stationed in the bay outside Hanö. Baltic trade was big-time politics.

“Imagine when the English navy waited menacingly outside Karlskrona. We can interpret from traces on the seafloor how the frightened city dwellers sealed off the strait,” he laughed.


Stories surfacing

This week’s documentation of the shipwrecks is like creating historical archive records. Together with analysis of the samples being taken, we will soon be able to find out which ships lie at the bottom of the sea.

“We’ll have plenty of intriguing stories to bring to the surface for visitors in and near the dive park,” Hansson concludes.

A project from Karlskrona Municipality, “Världsarvets g(l)ömda vrak” (Hidden and Forgotten World Heritage Wrecks), is heading the efforts to build the dive park, with funding from Region Blekinge and the County Administrative Board of Blekinge.

Watch the video on the surveys at Djupasund

Learn more about the dive park, and why the ships were sunk in Djupasund