Maritime archaeology and shipwrecks hold a fascinating appeal for many people. At the bottom of the Baltic Sea rest a good many shipwrecks that have been preserved for centuries, with their hulls largely intact. That’s why the National Maritime Museums are moving full speed ahead with plans for a new museum about the Baltic Sea’s unique cultural heritage. The museum’s new home, scheduled to open in 2020, will be built next to the Vasa Museum on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm.
At the National Maritime Museums, we have a long history of expertise in the field of maritime archaeology. Using wrecks and other discoveries as a starting point, we want to tell the stories of people who have depended on the sea for their livelihood, used it as a sea route, a battlefield – and a graveyard. It’s a story about the shared history of the Baltic Sea and how it unites countries.
A unique world treasure
The wrecks are so well-preserved because shipworms and other wood-depleting organisms do not thrive in the sea’s brackish water. In recent years, several archaeological finds from the 17th and 18th centuries have been discovered in the Baltic Sea. Recently, even much older ships have been found dating all the way back to the 14th and 16th centuries.
In addition to wooden ships the sea reveals other astonishing relics, from Stone Age settlements – many thousands of years old – to ships that have been wrecked in recent times.
VRAK – Museums of Wrecks
The museum aims to preserve, and spread knowledge about the cultural heritage from the Baltic Sea – and bring the stories from the wrecks up to the surface.
The exhibitions and the museum itself act as one of several channels that will tell us about the history of the Baltic Sea from the perspective of its unique shipwrecks. Archaeological divers who work for the National Maritime Museums are always discovering new wrecks and other remains.