Exciting Discovery of Ancient Carvings

Maritime archaeologists, led by Vrak, the Museum of Wrecks in Stockholm, and Swedish Navy divers, have made an exciting discovery of wood-carved sculptures hidden behind the stern of Äpplet, the sister ship of Sweden's famed 17th-century warship Vasa.

Among the carved sculptures were two large lions representing the national coat of arms displayed on the transom, along with a smaller circular sculpture in the shape of an apple, which served as a nameplate for the ship, formally known as Riksäpplet.

The intact sculptures found on a retired and scuttled ship surprised the team, as they had never come across such sculptures in their diving experience. This discovery provides valuable insights into the artistry and craftsmanship that adorned these historic warships.

The finding of these ancient carvings contributes to a deeper understanding of Sweden's naval past and showcases the incredible skills of the craftsmen who built these magnificent vessels.

Evolution of Shipbuilding Revealed

The investigation of the ship's stern construction at the wreck site allows for a deeper understanding of the evolution of shipbuilding techniques, particularly the transition from the unstable Vasa to the development of a massive, heavily armed ship like Äpplet.

By comparing the construction and details of Vasa and Äpplet, experts can gain valuable insights into the techniques employed by the shipyard builders during that era.

The significance of this discovery has been highlighted by Odd Johansen, the museum director of Vrak, who emphasizes the need to preserve the cultural heritage found on the Baltic Sea's seabed.

The Baltic Sea wrecks and artifacts offer a unique opportunity to salvage and conserve the artifacts of Äpplet for future display, provided the county administrative board approves.

The ongoing research program "Forgotten Fleet," in collaboration with Stockholm University and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, has played a vital role in investigating maritime history and unveiling significant contributions from Vrak and navy divers.

Historical Background of Vasa and Äpplet

Commissioned by King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden in 1625, Vasa and Äpplet were constructed side by side in Stockholm, with Äpplet scheduled to be launched a year after Vasa.

Unfortunately, Vasa met a tragic fate, sinking in 1628 before it could fulfill its heroic purpose at sea. However, Äpplet carried on the legacy of Vasa and served as a symbol of heroism and justice, protecting Sweden's naval interests.

The discovery of the wood-carved sculptures on Äpplet provides a unique opportunity to delve into the rich history of these iconic warships and shed light on the incredible stories they hold.

The craftsmanship and artistry displayed in the carvings are a testament to the dedication and skill of the shipbuilders and artists who contributed to the construction of these magnificent vessels.

Preserving Cultural Heritage

The Vrak Museum, part of the Swedish National Maritime & Transport Museums, has been at the forefront of preserving and showcasing the rich maritime heritage found in the Baltic Sea.

With less than two years since its establishment, the museum has already made remarkable discoveries, including the recent uncovering of the ancient carvings on Äpplet.

The well-preserved wrecks and artifacts found in the Baltic waters offer a unique opportunity to salvage and conserve the cultural heritage of Äpplet, ensuring that future generations can appreciate the historical significance and marvel at the craftsmanship displayed on these warships.

The decision to preserve and display the Äpplet artifacts now rests with the county administrative board, who will play a crucial role in safeguarding this invaluable piece of Sweden's naval history.

Contribution to Maritime History

The ongoing research program "Forgotten Fleet," conducted in collaboration with Stockholm University and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, has allowed Vrak and navy divers to investigate the wrecks in Vaxholm and make significant contributions to the understanding of maritime history.

Through the documentation and study of the ship's stern construction at the wreck site, experts have gained valuable insights into the evolution of shipbuilding techniques and the differences between Vasa and Äpplet.

The discoveries of the ancient carvings on Äpplet provide a deeper understanding of Sweden's naval past and highlight the incredible craftsmanship and artistry that adorned these historic warships.

By piecing together the puzzle of these ships' histories, researchers can paint a more comprehensive picture of the challenges faced by naval forces during the 17th century and the advancements made in shipbuilding during that era.

The recent discovery of wood-carved sculptures on Äpplet offers a unique opportunity to uncover Sweden's naval legacy and delve into the stories of heroism and justice associated with these iconic warships.

As maritime archaeologists continue their research and exploration, the mysteries surrounding Vasa and Äpplet are gradually being unraveled, shedding light on the incredible feats of engineering and craftsmanship achieved during that time.

These ancient carvings not only provide insights into the shipbuilding techniques of the past but also serve as a reminder of the dedication and skill of the individuals who contributed to Sweden's naval strength.

Through the preservation and display of these artifacts, future generations will have the chance to appreciate the heroic legacy of Vasa and Äpplet, ensuring that their stories continue to inspire and captivate audiences for years to come.


www.techtimes.com. (June 11, 2023). Maritime Archaeologists Discover Carvings of Sweden’s Famed 17th-Century Warship Vasa. www.techtimes.com.

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