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Found: A 17th-Century Wreck That Looks Like Sweden’s Most Famous Warship

The Blekinge was launched in 1682 and sunk in 1713.

Exploring the ship's ribs.
Exploring the ship’s ribs. Jim Hansson

In Stockholm, Sweden, one of the most prominent attractions is the Vasa Museum, which houses a warship built and sunk in 1628 and rescued from the sea, still intact, in the 20th century. The Vasa has been the only warship preserved from that age, when Sweden’s power was ascendant, but now marine archaeologists have found the wreck of another 17th century warship, the New Historian reports.

The new ship, the Blekinge, was found near Karlskrona, a city created in 1680 to serve as a hub for the Swedish Navy. The ship was the first built in the new shipyard and was launched there in 1682.

The Vasa famously had a design flaw that caused the ship to sink after traveling for less than a mile. This ship is about the same size, close to 150 feet long, and similarly armed, with about 70 cannons.

Unlike the Vasa, the Blekinge was in service for decades. It sank in 1713, perhaps on purpose. Marine archaeologists found the wreck after getting a tip from the Swedish Navy this past fall. Using old maps, the archaeologists were able to establish that it was likely the wreck of the Blekinge.

The new ship will not be salvaged from the floor, but the archaeologists plan on exploring the interior more thoroughly.