The Week Junior UK - 03.08.2019

(Axel Boer) #1
14

Scienceand technology

The Week Junior•3August

A

perfectly preserved shipwreck has been found at
the bottom of the Baltic Sea, between Sweden
and Estonia, wherearchaeologists (experts who study
the remains of the past) believe it has been lying
untouched for around 500 years.
The ship–which has been named Okänt Skepp,
which means unknown ship in Swedish–was
discovered by the Swedish Maritime Administration
using sonar in 2009. Sonar bounces soundwaves
off the seafloor to create images of objects lying
there. In thiscase, itrevealedaship lying 140 metres
down. When an international team of archaeologists
sent an underwaterroboticcameratot ake
aproper lookearlier this year,they
werestunned by what they saw.
The team, which
included scientists
from the University of
Southampton, found
that around 99% of
the vesselwasintact.
They wereable to see
the ship’shull, masts,
and evenasmall rowing
boat. Archaeologist Dr
RodrigoPacheco-Ruiz, who
led theexpedition, said that the
wreck looked“almost likeits ank
yesterday.It’satruly astonishing sight”.

Darkness and poor visibility makeiti mpossible to
photograph all of the 17-metre-long ship at once, so
the team photographed it piecebypiece. Then, they
usedatechniquecalled photogrammetry to stitch
the images together onacomputer and builda3D
model of the vessel. Based on its design, the team
believes that the Okänt Skeppwasbuilt between
1490 and 1540, inaperiod known as the Age of
Discovery.This waswhen European shipsexplored
the world looking for new tradingroutes. Experts
think this particular vessel sank in Sweden’sWar
of Liberation, from 1521 to 1523, or duringawar
between Sweden and Russia in the 1550s,
but its origin is stillamystery.
“Weknow it’sthe oldest
shipwreck in the Baltic.
There’snoother ship in
the world of this period
likethis. We have older
ships but they areonly
timbers or metal–we
have never hadaship
likethis, with masts
and anchors in place,”
Pacheco-Ruiz told theDaily
Mailnewspaper.Hehopes
the wreck will help scientists
and historians understand more
about the Age of Discovery.

500-year-old


shipwreckdiscovered


Launching the
camerarobot.

The Mary Rose
The flagship of King Henry VIII’snavy sank during
abattle with the French in 1545. The Mary Rose’s
wreck,raised in 1982, is now displayed in
Portsmouth with 26,000 objects found on board.

RMS Titanic
When thefamous oceanliner hit an iceberg and
sank on its first voyage in 1912, 1,514 people
died. In 1985, anexpedition found the ship split
in half on the seabed 3,800 metres down.

The BlackSwan
TheSpanishship NuestraSeñor adelas Mercedes
wassunk inabattle offPortugal in 1804.Found in
2007 and nicknamed The Black Swan, it had £
million worth of gold and silver treasureonboard.

Threefamous shipwrecks

3D view of the
Okänt Skepp.

An overhead
view of the ship.

T

SHIVER ME
TIMBERS!
TheBaltic Se

aisv ery cold

and only slightly salty

,which

helpedpreservethe Okänt
Skepp’s

wooden planks.
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