General, Research, Technology

How well can a ship that sank 400 years ago survive?

Right now, while you are reading this article, somewheresunken ships lie at the depths of the seas and oceans. Some of them are real "time capsules" because various items are stored inside their cabins and cargo compartments that can reveal interesting historical facts. Many companies are looking for such ships, one of which is the non-profit organization Badewanne. For several years in a row, divers have been able to find ships from the First and Second World War under water. But recently, explorers of the deep water have found something amazing, namely a 17th century Dutch ship. It attracted a lot of attention because it is perfectly preserved and is unique in itself. But what exactly is its peculiarity and how was it able to survive?

Remains of a ship at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

Sunken ship in the Baltic Sea

About a new find by divers from the Badewanne organizationwas reported in Science Alert. The ship that sank 400 years ago was found in the eastern waters of the Baltic Sea, at the very mouth of the Gulf of Finland. At a depth of 85 meters, the so-called flute, one of the transport ships that was built in the Netherlands, lay for several hundred years. They began to be built at the end of the 16th century and were revolutionary. The fact is that these ships with three masts were small, but at the same time they could carry large loads. Due to their carrying capacity and compact size, they allowed to save not only on transportation, but also on maintenance. As a rule, the crew of flutes consisted of a small number of people.

This is how Dutch flute ships looked hundreds of years ago

Reasons for the destruction of ships

The safety of sunken ships is affected by bothat least two factors. Firstly, the material from which the hull and other parts of the ship are made plays an important role. Metal boats can lie under water for hundreds of years and over time can only get rusty. But wooden ships can rot in just a few decades. Secondly, you need to take into account the conditions in which the ship is located. An important role is played by the salinity of the water and its temperature - the higher these indicators, the less chances for a good safety of the ship. Also, do not forget about the depth, since for greater safety it is important that the sun's rays do not affect the ship.

Due to the peculiarities of the Baltic Sea, the ship is perfectly preserved

A cargo ship from the Netherlands made fromtree, for four hundred years lay in almost ideal conditions. It sank in the Baltic Sea region, where water salinity is at its lowest and temperatures are not high enough to breed wood-eating bacteria and shipworms. I mentioned them in the news about the discovery of a ship from the time of Christopher Columbus, which was also found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Thanks to the cold and slightly salted water, it survived just as well. In addition to these two ships, in 1956 the remains of the Swedish ship Vaza were found in the Baltic Sea, which long ago capsized and sank due to improper design.

An interesting fact - for the first time steering wheels (steering wheel of ships) were used in Dutch ships

See also: A sunken temple and a treasure ship were found in Egypt

Historical secrets

The reason for the sinking of a recently found shipremains unknown. Researchers have not yet been able to recognize it, but very soon they should succeed. They reported that various items of the 17th century remained inside the ship. In the course of their study, they will be able to find out interesting facts about the life of people of those times. Most likely, the remains of its crew members lie not far from the sunken ship, but scientists did not say anything about them. At the moment, the discovery is interesting for at least two reasons. Researchers have found that even 400-year-old ships can survive well under water. They also became convinced once again that the Baltic Sea is fraught with many secrets. It's hard to even imagine how many interesting things lie at its bottom. But you can already know in advance that historical objects should be well preserved, because the waters of the Baltic Sea cannot harm them.

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Sometimes ancient ships are not found underwater, but under the earth cover. And all because the face of our planet is constantly changing and where the waters raged hundreds of years ago, now it can be dry. In May 2020, my colleague Artem Sutyagin spoke about the discovery of a 1000-year-old Viking ship. You can read about how well it was preserved and how interesting it is to science in this material.