An expedition of the Finnish non-profit organization Badewanne, which documents the sunken ships of the First and Second World Wars in the Gulf of Finland, found a wooden sailing ship of the 17th century at the bottom.
It lies at a depth of about 85 meters. The ship's hull was not damaged. Apparently, the ship died, not hitting the reefs, but capsizing during a storm. The low temperature and low salinity of the waters of the Baltic Sea do not allow ship worms to survive in it - mollusks that damage wood, so the sunken ship is in good condition. The greatest damage to him was once caused by a fishing trawl, which was dragged from the bow to the stern of the ship. At this point, the masts were torn down, some of the deck planks torn out, and the wooden sculptures that adorned the stern were demolished.
Flutes, illustration of the 17th century. University of Toronto Wenceslaus Hollar Digital Collection
According to the characteristic shape of the hull, experts concluded that this is a flute - a Dutch merchant ship that appeared at the turn of the 16th-17th centuries. Thanks to their shallow draft, spacious holds and narrow deck, the three-masted flutes were fast, roomy, and could navigate both on the open sea and on inland waterways, and an innovative system of pulleys and hoists for controlling the sails made it possible to cope with the ship with a small crew. Flutes were cheap and efficient ships of the Netherlands East India Company and dominated the Baltic in the 16th and 18th centuries.
The Badewanne team will continue to study the sunken ship in collaboration with the Finnish Heritage Agency and Stockholm University marine archaeologist Niklas Eriksson. “The ship exhibits many of the characteristics of a flute, but there are also some unique features, including the design of the stern. Perhaps this is an early example of a design. The shipwreck thus provides a unique opportunity to explore the development of a type of ship that has traveled around the world and became the instrument that laid the foundation for early modern globalization,”says Niklas Eriksson.