Finnish Archaeologists find Wreck of 15th Century Ship Laden with €50m Worth of Treasure
An archaeological diving team in Finland said they have found the wreck of the Hanneke Wrome, which sank with valuable cargo and some 200 passengers and crew on November 20, 1468. Historic documents record the ship as carrying 10,000 gold coins, estimated to be worth around €50 million today.
Finnish Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that diver and wreck researcher Rauno Koivusaari, Finland’s most experienced wreck researcher who discovered the famous treasure ship Vrouw Maria in 1999, found the treasured shipwreck just south of the island of Jussarö in Finland
The wreck was found just south of the island of Jussarö (pinned) in Finland. Credit: Google Maps
The Hanneke Wromen, named after the ship’s captain, was one of two ships on its way from Luebeck in Germany to Tallinn in Estonia, when it was hit by heavy storms that forced it to move closer to coast of Finland. The Hanneke Wrome sank while the other ship managed to get to Tallinn. The accident killed all 200 passengers and crew on board and was considered one of the most serious disasters to occur in the Baltic Sea at the time.
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Sketch of the Hanneke Wromen made according to the instructions Rauno Koivusaari
The ship is known to have been carrying 200 parcels of fabric, 1,200 barrels of honey, and 10,000 gold coins. Some of the cargo was successfully retrieved, while other items washed up on the beaches over many years. The coins, however, sunk with the ship and have never been retrieved.
Koivusaari began searching for the Hanneke Wromen wreck last year, along with a team from Finland, Sweden and Chile. When he discovered the sunken vessel off the island of Jussarö, he immediately checked its specs against historical documents, leading him to conclude that the wreck is indeed the ill-fated Hanneke Wromen.
The shipwreck measures approximately 30 meters in length and consists of three relatively well-preserved sections of the frame made from oak planks.
"There is a keel, mast and anchor, which is sticking out of the bottom of the upright,” said Koivusaari. “The anchor is fragile… It is exactly the kind of anchor used in the Hanseatic ships.”
The wreck identified by Rauno Koivusaari as the Hanneke Wrome. Credit: Rauno Koivusaari
Koivusaari and his team have also recovered a barrel lid, roof tile pieces, and an unidentified lead object. He said that he is confident that the gold coins will also be retrieved.
Koivusaari and the National Board of Antiquities have now planned further investigations of the wreck in the summer, as well as dating of the wood to confirm that it is the Hanneke Wromen. The chief curator of the National Board of Antiquities has described it as an “extremely rare discovery” and “very significant”.
Featured image: Rauno Koivusaari investigating wreck site. (Photo: Kari Kuukka )