The Ghost Ship
the Maritime Section of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
A shipwreck lies in compact darkness, 125 metres down on the seafloor in the middle of the Baltic Sea. It is almost completely intact, even though it sank almost 400 years ago.
In 2003, Deep Sea Productions and MMT (Marin Mätteknik) discovered an exceptionally well-preserved shipwreck about 30 nautical miles east of the island of Gotska Sandön. The discovery was made using side scan sonar during a search for a Swedish reconnaisance plane that was shot down by the Soviet Union in that area in 1952. An inspection of the shipwreck with ROV showed the wreck to be an almost intact merchant ship from the 17th century.
The discoverers of the wreck have worked with MARIS at Södertörn University since 2009, as part of an international scientific project with the objective of examining the wreck, now dubbed "The Ghost Ship". The examination shows that the ship is of the fluyt type and about 25 metres long. Construction details and wood samples indicate that the ship sank in around 1650.
Besides an archaeological survey, the Ghost Ship project also aims to develop new technological methods for deep water archaeology and documentation at depths that are out of reach for divers. Ongoing work is being documented in a television film, in cooperation with National Geographic Television, to be aired in the spring of 2011.
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