The sea monster emerged once more from the waters bordering the Swedish town of Ronneby, to the amazement of all gathered.
It could be the material of fairy tales, particularly nordic ones. Yet, it is the modern day finding of a shipwreck dated back to 1495 that brought the massive wooden figure of an ancient sea monster to light after more than half a millennia from the ship’s sinking just off the coast of Sweden.
The ship, which specialists from the Blekinge Museum believe is the Danish Gribshunden, once prized possession of King Hans must have proudly travelled the route from Copenhagen to Kalmar. On this route, it caught fire and its demise was met near Ronneby.
Despite fire damages, Gribshunden is one of the best preserved shipwrecks of the 15th century, a time the memory is still held by few vestiges.
The fascinating sea monster, weighing 660 pounds and measuring 11 feet in length was adorning Gribshunden’s prow. A truly viking carving, the sea monster represents a mythical creature, splitting the waters so that the warship would easily pass through.
By comparison, among other ships sailing at the time, Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria was the pride of the Atlantic crossing.
Johan Rönnby, professor of marine archaeology at the Södertörn University, stated:
“Last time it looked at the world, Leonardo da Vinci and Christopher Columbus were still living”.
Indeed, the well-preserved shipwreck hasn’t seen the light in over 500 years. Now, with efforts to fully return it to the surface stepping up, Gribshunden will share a few of its secrets, thought to be lost forever.
Particularly, the ship-building technologies of the time, to which there is little indication left throughout history.
The sea-monster that was adorning the prow of the 15th century ship is now resting in the Blekinge Museum, waiting to be reconditioned fully. Perhaps the process will shed more light on the nature of the frightening keeper of Gribshunded.
Is it a dog? Is it a snake? Is it a Viking god inspired totem? For now, the debate is ongoing. As the artifact is unique, too little is known at this moment.
Photo Credits: sverigesradio.se