Archaeologia Maris Baltici et Septentrionalis

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2nd Baltic Workshop for PhD Researchers in Maritime Archaeology

Soumenlinna – the Gibraltar of the North (Photo: M. Pise – Wikipedia Commons)

On 18.-20. November the 2nd ‘MARIS Workshop for PhD Researchers in Maritime Archaeology’ was hosted by our Finnish colleagues at the UNESCO world heritage site Soumenlinna: “the Fortress of Finland” – or until 1809 known as Sveaborg: ”the Fortress of Sweden”. This impressive sea fortress – often referred to as the “Gibraltar of the North” – provided the right setting for our maritime-themed sessions. The meeting was dedicated on ongoing doctoral research projects in the field of maritime archaeological from the Danish, Finnish, German, Lithuanian and Swedish shores of the Baltic Sea and – this time – the workshop reached out westwards to include also recent fieldwork from the North Sea and Irish Sea, with the sensational find of the well-preserved Doel Cog from Belgium and a clinker-built vessel from Ireland.

After the session we visited Soumenlinna’s Museum, where some finds from underwater archaeological campaigns is on display, like some shot and lead weights from the Swedish man-o-war KRONPRINS GUSTAV ADOLF. Underwater footage of the largest submerged timber structure was shown, with which the Swedish sought to block off navigable channels to Helsinki during the Russo-Swedish wars. Currently a gunboat is reconstructed after the plans of the renowned Swedish shipbuilder Fredrik Henrik af Chapman. Last not least, we visited the largest historical dry dock in the world, which construction began as early as 1750, and which is still in use for historical vessels.

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