A shipwreck happened hundreds of years ago and the debris have been discovered at the bottom of Mjosa – the largest lake in Norway.
The shipwreck is reported to be in almost a perfect condition only frozen in time. The ship reveals more about the lakes maritime activities and it is estimated to have been sunk between 1300s to 1800s.
The wreckage was discovered during the implementation of Mission Mjosa Project which is mapping the lake bed using high resolution technology known as sonar.
The project involves the use of Remote Operated Vehicles. The researchers took time to inspect the sections of the lake where large amount of ammunition were dumped. Over 100,000 people in Norway depend on the lake as a source of clean drinking water. This is according to information shared by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Therefore the munitions was a health risk for many people in Norway.
The shipwreck was noticed during the survey.
“My expectation was that there could also be shipwrecks discovered while we were mapping dumped munitions — that turned out to be the case,” said Øyvind Ødegård, a senior researcher in marine archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
“It was just purely that the statistical chance of finding shipwrecks that were well preserved was considered to be fairly high.”
The said shipwreck is located some 1,350 feet or 411 meters and was captured by sonar imagery which simply uses sound pulses to measure the area below water surfaces. According to the images taken, the ship measured 33 feet or some 10 meters in length.
The shipwreck has been preserved because of the freshwater environment and lack of waves at that depth. Only a couple of iron nails have undergone corrosion.
It appears that the ship was built using a Norse technique. This means that the planks of the body overlap with each other.
The oldest shipwreck found in Norway is Sorum logboat which dates back to 170 BC. The shipwreck is 2,200 years old but was quite well preserved.
“Wooden shipwrecks can be very well preserved in freshwater, since they lack the organisms that usually eat wood that are found, for instance, in the ocean,” Ødegård said.
“I assume that if we are going to find intact Iron Age or medieval vehicles in Norway, then (Lake Mjøsa) would be the place to look, since it’s big enough to have had its own distinct maritime history with a lot of seafaring and trade.”
The lake was used for big trade route starting from the Viking Age. There is not much known before that time.
“No matter what the age, any find will help us to understand better how the development in shipbuilding tradition was like in an inland lake, as compared to the Nordic countries.”
The mapping of the bottom of the lake was make possible via the use of an underwater vessel known as Hugin which was constructed by Kongsberg Maritime. This is the first time that such vessel has been deployed to a freshwater body for research.
The lead researcher anticipates that his team wil discover more shipwrecks as they continue with the mapping of the lake bottom.
“We could find vessels from since the beginning of human activity in the area. They could be present, and in good condition,” Ødegård said. “You can’t rule out anything.”
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