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Excavation of the Vassa
Because the Vassa went down in the freezing cold waters of the Baltic Sea, destructive woodworms and bacterial rotting did little damage to the sunken vessel. When researchers recovered the Vasa 350 years later they marveled at how little decay had occurred. Today visitors can see the Vasa where it is permanently exhibited at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Guests easily imagine how life on board must have been for those sailors who set sail on the doomed maiden voyage.
The photograph below shows a cannon being removed from the water after almost four centuries.
When researchers located Vassa, they were able to remove the ship from the water before starting the work. This was due to the remarkable condition of the ship. Because they were able to excavate the Vassa out of the water they were able to complete the job much faster than in a submerged environment. Researchers were also able to collect more artifacts that might have remained undiscovered covered by silt and sand. Archaeologists were able to remove the ship from the bottom in one piece and thereby save themselves the long and difficult process of taking it apart underwater and then putting it back together again. This time consuming method often takes years to complete.
The Vassa being hauled into port.
This lion figure head never roared into battle for it went down with the Vassa.
Photographs courtesy of the Vasa Museum