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.
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.
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.
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.