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Researchers Return to Wreckage of Swedish Warship Mars

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sweden The MarsÖLAND, SWEDEN—Science Nordic reports that a team of underwater archaeologists from Södertörn University, the Västervik Museum, and other organizations recently found human remains, cannons, and a hand grenade while investigating the wreckage of the Swedish warship Mars. Discovered in 2011 off the coast of Öland Island, Mars sank in the deep waters of the Baltic Sea in 1564 after a violent gunpowder explosion while under attack during the Northern Seven Years’ War, fought between Denmark and Sweden from 1563 to 1570. “We can see from the wreckage that it was a very intense and tough battle,” said researcher Rolf Fabricius Warming. The human remains include a femur bearing trauma on the knee end that may have been caused by a sharp-edged weapon. Historical sources indicate Mars had a large anti-boarding net covering its deck, but the net failed to prevent as many as 400 Danish and Lübeckian soldiers from jumping aboard the ship and attacking the crew. Large guns, another recent innovation at the time, had been intended to engage the enemy at long distance, also in an effort to prevent such close-quarter fighting. “Soldiers fought with hand grenades, lances, and spears, which they threw down from the masts,” Warming explained. “The fighting was structured and carefully calculated, but an absolute ruckus.” To read in-depth about a massacre that occurred on Öland Island, go to “Öland, Sweden. Spring, A.D. 480.”

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