The ship belonged to King Hans of Denmark, and it mysteriously sank off the coast of the southern Swedish town of Ronneby in 1495.

The find is the world's best-preserved ship from the time of Columbus and Vasco da Gama, and the ship's discovery has received much international attention.

"No other ship from the time of the great voyages of discovery has been preserved and is as intact as this one," lead researcher Brendan Foley from Lund University stated. 

How big was the ship? How did it work? How did it sink? These are some of the questions that scientific studies are looking to answer.

New findings

The investigations have already uncovered several new findings and unknown construction details from the shipwreck, according to the Viking Ship Museum's website.

During this year's archaeological investigations, experts identified the tiller and the six-meter-long rudder.

The discovery of the rudder and tiller gives archaeologists, for the first time, the opportunity to gain insight into the technology that made it possible to steer ships from this age.

"We have never before been able to examine this type of object and the technology precisely," Foley noted.

Unknown details

The ship's construction, in particular, has been the focus of this year's scientific diving survey, which is carried out at a water depth of 10 meters.
Over the past few weeks, researchers and marine archaeologists from Lund University, Blekinge Museum, and the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde have worked intensively to extract details from the world-famous ship find that can tell more about how the ship was constructed.

The divers have also made unusual and rare object discoveries while uncovering the ship's structural parts: medieval firearms, cannon lavets, and ceramics. 

These objects reveal information about the ship's use and the medieval society that was onboard the ship for its final voyage.

Researchers have uncovered new objects while examining the shipwreck. Illustration: Drew McArthur / Shutterstock

High-end technology used

Completely new, high-end technology has been used to reveal the secrets of medieval shipbuilders.

Marine archaeologists have used photogrammetry to measure the six-meter-long rudder. The rudder is now 3D documented, so researchers can recreate a digital version of the rare find.

The tiller and other smaller structural parts from the ship have also been salvaged and are to be documented and 3D modeled on land.

With the 3D models in place, it will be possible for the researchers to study the new finds and, at the same time, show very accurate images of the ship and the found objects to the broader public.

Project background

The project is carried out in collaboration between the Digital Archaeological Laboratory (DARK lab) at Lund University, Blekinge Museum, and marine archaeologists and ship experts from the Viking Ship Museum. The project is supported by the Länsstyrelsen in Blekinge.

Marine archaeologists Marie Jonsson and Mikkel H. Thomsen from the Viking Ship Museum have participated in this year's investigations. Among other things, they contributed with their special knowledge of ship construction and underwater archaeological excavation.

The archaeological investigations will continue in the coming years.

Note: All photographs used in this article are for illustration purposes only.

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