At MARIS, our aim is to conduct and develop research in marine archaeology, while also being a hub for Baltic marine archaeological research, nationally and internationally. We create the right conditions for knowledge exchange between different actors in marine archaeology through our networks, seminars, workshops and conferences. As Södertörn University is now the only Swedish higher education institution to conduct research and education in marine archaeology, we have a vital role in the field’s scientific development.
The Baltic sea is one of the best locations in the world for research in marine archaeology. One reason is that the Baltic Sea’s cold brackish water lacks many of the organisms that usually decompose timber in seawater, so shipwrecks and other objects are preserved, almost intact, for hundreds of years in the darkness on the seabed. There are also plenty of wrecks in the Baltic Sea as this inland sea has seen lively traffic since prehistoric times, and many ships have been lost.
Resande mannen, Gribshunden, Mars and Svärdet are examples of wrecks found in the Baltic Sea and which MARIS’ researchers have worked with in the last few years. The survey of a unique 15th-century wreck, Gribshunden, and the salvaging of a figurehead from the ship received a great deal of publicity in the media, in Sweden and abroad. Gribshunden has been called “one of the most important wrecks in the world”. Södertörn University library has an exhibition about the Spökskeppet (Ghost Ship) wreck, for which MARIS led the exploration. Through a number of international partnerships, since 2016 MARIS has also worked on the Black Sea with surveys of both unique Antique wrecks and submerged prehistoric settlements.
Marine Archaeology is one of the subjects that was established when Södertörn University was founded in 1997. One reason for this was the opportunity for a Baltic perspective associated with Södertörn University’s profile. This start also gave the subject a fixed academic platform in Sweden. Swedish marine archaeological research has good international reputation, and Sweden is considered a world-leader in the field, not least because of the salvaging of the Vasa and the research surrounding it.
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