829-year-old ‘Viking-style’ shipwreck reveals its secrets


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The wreck of a 12th-century ‘Viking-style’ ship found in a German port is revealing its secrets and techniques due to high-tech 3D-scanning know-how.

The shipwreck was present in simply 10 ft of water when staff had been extending the Baltic Sea port of Wismar. Due to the seawater and harbor silt, the ship’s timbers are completely preserved, in accordance with archaeologists.

Measuring virtually 80 ft by 13 ft, the ship’s stays have been dated to round 1188. Consultants used 3D scanner know-how to disclose that the open-decked ship was constructed completely with axes and adzes.


Evaluation of the ship’s timbers revealed that they had been from Western Sweden. Maritime Archaeologist Dr. Jens Auer, who led the undertaking, described the ship as a descendant of Viking vessels. “It was a heavy, load-bearing cargo ship, of Nordic design, constructed with nice care and sturdiness…with overlapping pine planks, clinker-style, with a stupendous curved development…made throughout a comparatively peaceable time period,” he defined, in a press release.

A diver examines the wreck.
(Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)

The ship doubtless carried cargoes reminiscent of timber, stones, and even beer, Auer added.

Consultants estimate that the ship had a crew of Eight to 12 males.


“The Wismar wreck is of nice significance as a result of it tells us about the kind of vessels that had been crossing the seas of Northern Europe in the course of the excessive medieval interval,” Massimiliano Ditta, maritime archaeologist on the Stavanger Maritime Museum instructed Fox Information, by way of e mail. “Traditionally we had been in a interval of transition and a shift of financial energy. That is mirrored within the development of the ship, and because of its unbelievable state of preservation, it’s a treasure trove of data not in any other case accessible.”

A diagram of the shipwreck. (Massimiliano Ditta)

A diagram of the shipwreck. (Massimiliano Ditta)

After lifting the wreck out of the Baltic waters, specialists used an Artec handheld 3D scanner know-how to scan the timbers at a warehouse within the German metropolis of Schwerin. The scanning course of took one month, with the scans used to create a 3D-printed small scale mannequin of the ship.

Ditta, who oversaw the 3D scanning of the wreck, says that the ship presents a glimpse into Baltic commerce earlier than cities within the area shaped a strong buying and selling group referred to as the Hanseatic League.


“The ‘Large Ship of Wismar’ not solely exhibits us how bulk commerce was carried out between Scandinavia and the Baltic shores previous to the rise of the Hanseatic League but additionally sheds gentle on the early historical past of Wismar as a maritime city,” he stated.

One of the ship's timbers recovered from wrecksite. (Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)

One of many ship’s timbers recovered from wrecksite. (Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)

The ship’s timbers are being saved at a conservation facility in Schwerin, in accordance with the researchers concerned within the undertaking, and could find yourself in a museum.

Viking-era discoveries have thrilled archaeologists throughout Scandinavia and the Baltic lately. An unbelievable Swedish grave containing the skeleton of a Viking warrior, lengthy regarded as male, was not too long ago confirmed as feminine. Final yr, a Viking “Thor’s hammer” was found in Iceland and archaeologists in Norway used ground-penetrating radar know-how to disclose a particularly uncommon Viking longship.


Additionally in 2018, an Eight-year-old woman found a 1,500-year-old sword in a Swedish lake and an unbelievable trove of silver treasure linked to the period of a well-known Viking king was found on an island within the Baltic Sea. Tons of of 1,000-year-old silver cash, rings, pearls, and bracelets had been discovered on the German island of Ruegen.

The ship's timbers were perfectly preserved, according to archaeologists. (Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)

The ship’s timbers had been completely preserved, in accordance with archaeologists. (Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)

In 2017, an extremely well-preserved Viking sword was discovered by a reindeer hunter on a distant mountain in Southern Norway. In 2016, archaeologists in Trondheim, Norway, unearthed the church the place Viking King Olaf Haraldsson was first enshrined as a saint.


A 3D scan of one of the ship's timbers.

A 3D scan of one of many ship’s timbers.
(Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)

Individually in 2016, a tiny Viking crucifix was present in Denmark.

Fox Information’ Bradford Betz and The Related Press contributed to this text. Comply with James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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