Centuries-Old Vessel Found In Ideal Condition At The Bottom Of The Largest Lake In Norway

While the Earth’s surface has been mapped thoroughly, some of the largest bodies of water still have myriad mysteries to unfold. Mapping them is a whole endeavour that cannot be done with standard technology like satellites.

One such secret was recently unveiled when a group of experienced researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment set out to map Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s greatest lake, which spans over 140 square miles. On the final day of a two-week study, they suddenly stumbled upon a centuries-old shipwreck in nearly perfect condition.

A crucial factor in favour of the ship’s integrity is that it had gone down in a lake, not an ocean. As this is a freshwater lake, the wood in a vessel like this is preserved, Øyvind Ødegård, a marine archaeologist associated with NTNU, reported to Science Norway.

Centuries-Old Vessel
Credits: Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt (FFI) / Facebook

The metal may rust, and the vessel might lose structure, but the wood remains intact. A similar dish to this one wouldn’t have survived for over a few decades had it not gone down on the coast. So if researchers have to discover a Viking shipwreck somewhere in Norway, Mjøsa is possibly the place with the most potential.

Like all great discoveries, this one, too, happened accidentally. The mission’s primary purpose was to locate possible ammunition and explosives that could have been dumped in the lake from 1940 to 1970, something of great importance since Mjøsa is a source of drinking water for nearly 100,000 individuals. Nevertheless, given the rich history of the lake as a key trading route throughout Norway's history, the specialists believed that it was a matter of time until such a discovery happened.

Even though the team tried getting more photographs to learn about the vessel, bad weather and poor visibility stopped them from doing so. The great news is that they plan to try once again next year, and they will hopefully be able to answer the questions such a thrilling discovery has managed to raise.

The vessel reportedly sits at a depth of 1,350 feet. It was found by the autonomous underwater vehicle Hugin. With sonar imagery, experts have determined that the boat measures 33 feet in length and 8.2 feet in width. Even though further examination is required to determine how old the vessel is, given its construction techniques and design, it is to date back between the 1300s and 1800s.

The date range was assigned as archaeologists made out what they thought was stern. It is typically noticeable in the ones built after the 13th century since shipbuilders from before that era focused on identical Viking vessels on both sides.

Besides, the vessel is thought to have been built using a Norse technique that makes the vessel lighter, which comprises overlapping the planks of the hull that result in a “clinker-built” ship. As it was found in the middle of the lake, specialists think it sunk due to bad weather. This is not the first ship discovered in Lake Mjøsa; however, it is the first to be spotted beyond the depth of approximately 65 to 98 feet.

References: US Today, My Modern Met

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