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‘It’s a Baltic problem’: the Swedish coastguards saving shipwrecks from looters


robinjojo

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Here's an interesting short article from today's Guardian on efforts by the Swedish Coast Guard to protect wrecks off of Sweden's coast from looting of artifacts.  According to the article there are an "estimated 100,000 shipwrecks in the Baltic".

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/aug/01/baltic-sea-swedish-coastguards-saving-shipwrecks-from-looters

 

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True, and the wrecks I'm sure run the breath of history.  It seems that they are focusing, at least for Sweden, the wrecks near their coast or in territorial water, such as the 17'th century wreck described in the article. 

One of the best known Swedish wrecks is the Vasa, which sank on August 10, 1628, during her maiden voyage which didn't get very far, going down in Stockholm Harbor.  Apparently the Vasa was an unstable ship with a top heavy structure.  It didn't take much of a wind to cause the ship to founder and sink.

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1 hour ago, robinjojo said:

Here's an interesting short article from today's Guardian on efforts by the Swedish Coast Guard to protect wrecks off of Sweden's coast from looting of artifacts.  According to the article there are an "estimated 100,000 shipwrecks in the Baltic".

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/aug/01/baltic-sea-swedish-coastguards-saving-shipwrecks-from-looters

 

 

Most of these "shipwrecks" are finishing boats or similar vessels. 

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1 hour ago, John Conduitt said:

They need some sort of arrangement so that the looters become 'archaeologists'. They're not going to research 100,000 shipwrecks before they disintegrate.

Yes, I agree. A “citizen archeology” approach similar to the British portable antiquities scheme might be a way forward. For archeologists, reliable information about the items in shipwrecks is more important than the objects themselves. If sports divers could provide that information instead of looting, it would be a win for everyone.

A big concern is that shipwrecks often also include human remains. This poses ethical questions that are hard to address.

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On 8/2/2023 at 8:51 AM, robinjojo said:

And looting for artifacts is not the only issue.  Some wrecks, notably World War II wrecks, such as the HMS Prince of Wales have been exploited for their scrap metal value.

Let us not forget the unexploded ordinance from such ships that has become unstable over time.

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