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Nord Stream supports underwater heritage research on Gotland, Sweden

20 сентября 2007 г. | Visby, Sweden | Nord Stream has committed itself to support the project Underwater Heritage – Maritime Archaeology on Gotland, which is focused on detailed survey, documentation and excavation of shipwrecks on the Baltic seabed near the island of Gotland. The project is initiated by the Swedish archaeological company Aqua Arkeologen Sverige together with the County Museum of Gotland and Gotlands Havsgille. For Nord Stream, this project gives an opportunity to demonstrate its responsible approach to underwater research, especially since Nord Stream is carrying out the most comprehensive seabed survey ever done in preparation for the underwater natural gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea.

In the first stage of this marine archaeology project, the 16th century cannon was recovered today in Visby harbour, Gotland.  The cannon originates from one of the ships of the Danish-Lübeckish fleet that went down in 1566. Gotlanders and invited guests could witness this unusually-shaped cannon with a length of almost five metres being lifted. The canon was displayed in the harbour for half an hour before being taken to the Swedish mainland for conservation work that will go on for several years. It is planned that after restoration the cannon will be returned to Gotland and will be exhibited in the County Museum of Gotland.

The project has launched a website www.huma-gotland.com which will present detailed information about the project development and discoveries.

About the Cannon: Relic of the 16th century fleet

The cannon was discovered over ten years ago and has drawn the attention of archaeologists ever since. Göran Ankarlilja, marine archaeologist at AquaArkeologen and Project manager for Underwater Heritage – Maritime Archaeology on Gotland describes the cannon as being much larger and longer than the earlier cannon finds in Swedish waters. According to Göran such cannons were used both on ships and on land.

When the cannon was lifted in the harbour, the public had a unique chance to get a close look at it in its current stage – secured in a cradle and placed in the same position as on the seabed. Göran Ankarlilja explained that the cannon is made of wrought iron placed on a wooden bed. It has a loose chamber in which gun powder and projectiles such as cannon balls were placed. Today it consists of the barrel and the wooden bed. The chamber, tiller and wheels are missing after more than 440 years on the seabed. The cannon is very fragile and the experts took great care during the recovery process.  More information about the cannon on www.huma-gotland.com

Project background: Underwater Heritage on Gotland

This marine archaeology project is a joint initiative of the County Museum of Gotland, Gotland’s Havsgille and the marine archaeology company AquaArkeologen launched with the support of Nord Stream in order  to research and document Gotland’s maritime heritage, including shipwrecks and other artefacts lying on the Baltic seabed near Gotland. Located in the centre of the Baltic Sea, the Swedish island of Gotland is surrounded by the remains of wrecks of merchant ships, of ships carrying pilgrims, of pirate ships, of fishing boats and of warships.

Göran Ankarlilja, marine archaeologist at AquaArkeologen on Gotland, says that the seabed around Gotland has been only partially examined for  marine artefacts, and that the number of these is still unknown. Historical sources from the last 250 years indicate that more than 2,500 ships wrecked around the island, but only about 100 wrecks have been found. Only some few wrecks and remains have been archaeologically excavated. This makes the project very unusual and interesting. More information about the project on www.huma-gotland.com.

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