Study reveals new insights into wreck of royal flagship Gribshunden

Underwater archaeologists from Södertörn University, in collaboration with the CEMAS/Institute for Archaeology and Ancient Culture at Stockholm University, have conducted an investigation of the wreck of the royal flagship Gribshunden.

A diving club first discovered the wreck in the 1970’s at a depth of 10 m (33 ft), but unaware of the significance, the identity of the wreck wouldn’t be confirmed until 2013.

- Advertisement -

The wreck is internationally significant as the world’s best-preserved ship from the Age of Exploration – a proxy for the vessels of Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama.

The Gribshunden was the flagship of Hans (John), King of Denmark, which after a large explosion in 1495, sank at anchor near the town of Ronneby, Sweden.

The ship was enroute to Kalmar from Copenhagen and was carrying the king for a summit with the Swedish council. At the time of the explosion, the king was ashore and suffered no injury, however, one contemporary account records 150 crewman dying in the tragic accident.

The Gribshunden sunk to a depth of just ten metres, meaning that the rigging was still above the water level and was partially accessible. Salvers boarded the ship and used rudimentary diving equipment to salvage some of the high-status belongings of the king and retinue.

- Advertisement -

Underwater archaeologists have recently conducted a non-intrusive survey of the wreck site using photography and 3D photogrammetry. This has provided new data for a digital reconstruction of the wreck and further insights into the ship’s superstructure.

Furthermore, the survey has provided details into the armaments still onboard and the present state of preservation of the timbers from the wreck structure.

According to a paper on the study: “The main focus of the investigation concerned the ship’s superstructure, and it can be stated that there are a large number of timbers and building parts which, after further reconstruction and interpretation, will give a more detailed picture of the ship’s superstructure”.

Header Image Credit : Rolf Fabricius Warming

Sources : Stockholms universitet

- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill

Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

BU archaeologists uncover Iron Age victim of human sacrifice

Archaeologists from Bournemouth University have uncovered an Iron Age victim of human sacrifice in Dorset, England.

Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

Study indicates that Firth promontory could be an ancient crannog

A study by students from the University of the Highlands and Islands has revealed that a promontory in the Loch of Wasdale in Firth, Orkney, could be the remains of an ancient crannog.

Archaeologists identify the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II

Archaeologists from Sorbonne University have identified the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II, otherwise known as Ramesses the Great.

Archaeologists find missing head of Deva from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom

Archaeologists from Cambodia’s national heritage authority (APSARA) have discovered the long-lost missing head of a Deva statue from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom.

Archaeologists search crash site of WWII B-17 for lost pilot

Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology are excavating the crash site of a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress in an English woodland.

Roman Era tomb found guarded by carved bull heads

Archaeologists excavating at the ancient Tharsa necropolis have uncovered a Roman Era tomb guarded by two carved bull heads.