Timeless Allure: Unveiling the Irresistible Beauty of a 700-Year-Old Ship with Enduring Appeal

In Estonia’s capital Tallinn, a 700-year-old ship has been discovered at a construction site near the former mouth of the Härjapea River, hailed as a significant archaeological find in Europe for the year.

The 80-foot-long vessel, made of oak logs and sealed with animal hair and tar, was found underground at a depth of five feet. Initial dendrochronological analysis dates the logs back to the year 1298.

Scientists identify the ship as belonging to the Hanseatic League, a medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in central and northern Europe.

The Hanseatic League, which started in the 14th century, included countries such as the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, and Latvia.

Archaeologist Mihkel Tammets, in charge of the site, explained that the ship sank close to the Härjapea River mouth, and the discovery is exceptionally well-preserved due to its burial under sediments.

The area was submerged under the sea 800 years ago, and the ship was found on underwater sand ridges that were challenging to map due to changing shapes caused by ice drifts and storms.

The vessel is a rare find, with the last similar discovery being the Bremen Cog in Germany in 1962. However, Tammets noted that the newly-discovered wreck is in even better condition than its renowned counterpart.

Excavations are ongoing, revealing wool material used for packing, tools, and fragments of medieval leather shoes. The site, once underwater in the 18th century, holds potential for further discoveries.

Archaeologist Ragmar Nurk from the Tallinn city government is involved in the project, stating that the wreck will be removed from its current position to allow construction work to continue.

The options for its relocation include transferring it to the maritime museum or the wreck preservation area in Tallinn Bay near Naissaar Island. The move, however, is constrained by the ship’s size and the limitations of the construction site.

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