It’s incredibly obvious that archaeologists and explorers serve a meaningful purpose to society. Without their motivation to uncover history’s greatest mysteries, there would probably be many historical events that were lost in time. When a group of Swedish archaeologists set off in search of a sunken warship in the Baltic Sea, they were hoping to unlock answers to their questions. However, when they reached the ship, they found a more meaningful discovery than the one they were hoping for.
An important piece of history would have been forgotten without explores like Swedish maritime archaeologist Johan Rönnb. While Johan is responsible for numerous discoveries, his search for a missing warship can be contributed as his greatest work yet.
The story begins when a determined Johan rang the owner of the Ocean Discovery diving company, Richard Lundgren, for help finding a vessel within the Baltic Sea. Johan did not know that Richard, his brother Ingmar, and a colleague, Fredrick Skogh, had already been searching for this same ship, with no results.
The ship that had intrigued them was called the Makalös, meaning “astounding”. The Makalös was a large ship over 157 feet and was loaded with over 107 guns. The men decided to join with each other to find this enormous piece of history.
Swedish King Eric
The Makalös had been built in 1563 for the use of Swedish King Eric XIV, who had requested an astounding vessel. It was used to lead the Swedish fleet, and it was used to it’s extent during the Northern Seven Years’ War.
The Northern Seven Years’ War pitted the Swedish Kingdom against Denmark, Poland, and the north German city-state of Lübeck and went from 1563 to 1570. The war ended in a stalemate from overall exhaustion from all sides.
Meeting It’s Match
The Makalös had eventually met it’s match during combat with the Danes. Although it had survived it’s first day of battle and routed the Danish forces, it took a rough beating from the Germans on it’s second day. Regardless, the crew decided to carry forward.
The Battle Continues
Getting through the first battle had made the Makalös a legend, being the first ship in history to sink another warship with gunfire only. Unfortunately, during the 1564 battle of Öland in the Baltic Sea, the ship caught fire and sank into the sea.
It was deemed as the strongest and most ferocious warship during it’s time, but it wasn’t invincible. More than 800 German and Swedish soldiers, along with silver and gold coins, were lost in the Baltic Sea the day the admirable ship sank.
Rumors began to spread about the ship that it had been cursed from birth. Many believed that King Eric’s desire to own the biggest and deadliest ship was the reason behind it’s demise. After all, the king had in fact ordered church bells to be melted into cannonballs, which of course didn’t please the Catholic Church.
Was It True?
Whether the rumors about the cursed ship were true or not, ever since the ship sank in 1564, it’s been the agenda of countless archaeologists, historians, and treasure hunters to find the ship. Although they have all searched tirelessly for it; they were not able to find any of clues of it’s location.
In 2011, Johan, Richard, and their crew had finally discovered damaged remains of the vessel near the coast of Swedish island Öland, only 246 feet below the surface. What excited the archaeologists the most was that the remains appeared to be in astonishing shape.
The researches were shocked by the ships ability to preserve itself due to slow currents, low sediment levels, pure water, and absence of shipworms, animals which attach themselves to wood and break it down. The men were beyond excited to explore the supposedly cursed ship.
Why The Year Was Important
Johan explained to reporters that, “The 1500s is an important period….because it’s when big three-masted warships started being built. Indeed, [the ship’s] many cannons were also in remarkable condition despite their five-century slumber beneath the sea.”
Opportunity To Learn
In comparison to other galleons and warships that have been discovered through ears, the Makalös has given humanity the best opportunity to learn, since the others had only ever been found in small fragments.
The explorers were excited to begin their research, and Johan and Richard tried to find a way to bring the enormous ship to the surface without damaging it in the process. Luckily, with the assistance of Ocean Discovery, they devised an innovative plan…
Ocean Discovery utilized a mix of photographs and three-dimensional scanning products in order to take laser scans of the ship underwater. The scans were said to be accurate to within a fraction of an inch.
Johan and Richard planned to use these methods to reconstruct the ship exactly as it would’ve looked before it sank. With this reconstruction of the vessel, the researchers hoped to learn about how it would’ve operated all those years ago.
Johan explains to reporters that, “It’s not just a ship, it’s a battlefield. You’re very close to this dramatic fire on board, people killing each other, everything was burning and exploding.
The reason that archaeologists enter the field is to conduct such in-depth research. Johan adds, “In the end, I think, that’s the aim of archaeology, to discuss ourselves and the human aspects of a site.”
As Johan, Richard, and their crew continue to conduct research on the sunken ship, they hope to learn everything possible about the legendary warship and the soldiers who perished onboard.
Article originally posted by worldlifestyle.