Ett nytt museum dyker upp

When you’re diving in the Baltic Sea… …the water is so warm and you can hardly see your fingers. And after ten metres, the water becomes cold and clear. And there it is. A shipwreck, that’s lying on the bottom. There are thousands of amazing objects
at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Thousands of shipwrecks and other objects. The Baltic Sea, one of the world’s busiest seas. Eighty-five million people today live around the sea – – but what do we really know about
the people who lived here long ago? It’s actually a small sea. It has seen an incredible level of activity throughout the ages,
since the Ice Age in fact. States and communities have been built up and torn down. There has been migration, trade, fishing and war. All this has left its traces. Their traces remain across the bottom of the Baltic Sea. There are thousands of wrecks that tell us
about battles and storms – – but also about another time. About people who have lived and travelled
across the Baltic Sea for 12,000 years. We can follow the development of cultures – – under water over a long period of time. From the sunken settlements in the south – – to the wrecks in the north. We have the world’s most amazing and most well-preserved Stone Age settlements – – settlements that are 6,000 to 9,000 years old. A few years ago I was digging in Danish waters, and suddenly a perfectly preserved fish trap appeared, with freshly cut branches intertwined with plant fibres. It looked like the trap was laid there yesterday. But it was 6,000 years old. There are only a few places in the world
where you can find such a thing, and the Baltic Sea is probably the best place. Over the past 80 years, many wrecks and other artefacts have been
discovered and investigated. Recently, marine archaeologists from the
National Maritime and Transport Museums – found a well-preserved wreck from the Middle Ages, in the Stockholm archipelago. The ship resembles a cog, a merchant ship that the German Hansen used over the
course of 500 years when crossing the Baltic Sea. The wreck is partly covered by mud and might have its cargo preserved. It’s quite amazing that we have historical records – – but also a huge amount of archaeological data
on the sea bottom, preserved. Another well-preserved wreck
is the warship Svärdet – “The Sword”. She sank in 1676 in a battle against the
Danish-Dutch fleet off the island of Öland. Only a few of the 650 man-strong crew survived. You can still see the cannon holes caused by the battle. What’s special about the Baltic Sea, and almost completely unique in the world
with a few exceptions, are the good conditions for conservation there. Its brackish water in particular, but also the cold and darkness of the Baltic Sea, provide unique conditions for the
preservation of older objects – – and shipwrecks in particular. But more recent wrecks can also be found
on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. One of them is the German cruise ship Wilhelm Gustloff – – which, on one icy January night at the end of World War II, is instructed to evacuate people from Poland to Germany. The ship is discovered – – and fired at by Russian torpedoes. Wilhelm Gustloff brings with him close to
10,000 people into the depths – mainly women, children and the elderly. We’ve got to think that this culture heritage
belongs to all of us – – as Europeans or as people who live around the Baltic Sea. We all have to protect this culture heritage. We should start to discuss how we should protect it, considering the marine industries like wind farms,
sea traffic, marine traffic, fishing. This is also a discussion about a way of protection. Despite the hazards, the wrecks are still best
left at the bottom of the sea. This is why the Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums – – now want to give visitors a porthole view
down to our sunken cultural heritage. A new museum is about to open in 2020
on Djurgården in Stockholm. Through the use of various objects and new technology, visitors will get to dive deep into the secrets of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea has always been a multicultural area, and joint efforts are needed to implement
the idea of this museum. The sea is, in fact, rather small, so the Baltic Sea makes the perfect starting point
for a maritime archaeological museum. We actually can call the Baltic Sea
a huge underwater museum. Because the conditions here in the Baltic Sea are so unique. Maritime archaeology tends to attract great interest, if you compare it with other historical research and archaeology,
and the seawater holds a powerful attraction – – a sense of mystery that you can dive back in history. History and archaeology are really about ourselves. Who we are as people, where we come from,
why we have behaved – – and continue to behave the way we do. I think it’s an eye opener, a teaser that entices
us to want to learn more. Most people think that only the Mediterranean
and other clear waters can be attractive, but the Baltic is also an interesting sea. Because we have wrecks! “Vrak – Museum of Wrecks” is a part of Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums.

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