Swedish king’s warship unearthed in Stockholm

Wreck of a ship, believed to be “The Gustav II Adolf”, a 17th century vessel of King Gustav II Adolf has been unearthed during renovation works in central Stockholm, Sweden.

Site of excavations (by Jim Hansson & Stockholm Maritime Museum)

Archaeologists have identified the remains as a 400-year-old flagship in the Swedish King’s fleet. The vessel is said to have been built in 1615. The found was made during renovation works on the Skeppsholmen islet overseen by archaeologists of the Stockholm Maritime Museum. Archaeologists had no prior indication of this wreck on maps, and they expected to find shipwrecks not older than 18th century. The uncovered remains include a section of the ship two metres up from the keel and parts of the transom. The remains are well preserved with cut marks from axes still visible on timber. Dendrochronological samples have provided dates between 1612-1613, and the size of the ship allowed to identify is a Scepter, because there were only a few such large ships built during that time.

Remains of the ship (by Johan Runer)

Scepter weighted 800 tonnes and carried 36 guns. It took part in many campaigns, including a journey in 1621 when she was part of a 148-ship fleet attempting to conquer Riga, with the King on board, but only made it to Pärnu, Estonia, after getting caught up in a storm. In 1639 she was retired and was deliberately sunk at Skeppsholmen to form part of the foundation of a new shipyard being constructed at the islet in central Stockholm at the time. Archaeologists believe that there may be more such shipwrecks in the area like this that have been forgotten.

(after The Local, Johan Runer, Jim Hansson & Stockholm Maritime Museum)

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