The Wreck

The surviving hull structure of Kronan, measuring 40 x 20 meters, represents two thirds of the port side, from the stern forward. It appears to be one continuous section, lying flat on the bottom with the outside pressed into the clay. The present condition of the wreck is due mainly to three factors: 1) the explosion which preceded the sinking; 2) natural erosion, the effects of which the explosion increased; 3) damage caused by human interference: salvage-operations in the 1680's; fishing and minesweeping. Kronan can be divided into seven decks (see plan). Highest up is the poop deck then as you move down, the quarter deck; upper, middle and lower gun decks; the orlop deck and then the hold. On the same level as the quarter deck at the front of the ship was the Forecastle (fo'c's'le).

The Site

The remains of Kronan rest on a flat sand bottom with underlying solid anaerobic glacial clay, which is geologically deposited. The wreck is oriented roughly N-S, its stern to the north. The wreck site measures 50 x 40 m but parts are spread out over a wider area. Before Kronan sank, she heeled over on her port side. Thus, the shockwave from the following explosion tore away most of the starboard side, making the ship lose most of its floating ability. Aided by the weight of the ordnance (which has been estimated as 228 tons) the ship began to sink. Most likely, the ship came to rest in its present position on the bottom very quickly. Forward of the main-maststep, in conjunction with the main hatch, the hull is broken athwartships in two. The structure forward of the fracture, is missing. The remaining structure consists of seven deck-levels; The uppermost deck astern is the poop, followed in order by the quarter deck, the upper, middle, and lower gun decks, the orlop deck and finally the hold.

The biological activity on the site is, as in the Baltic Sea in general, little due to the lack of salinity. This circumstance must be regarded as favourable, especially regarding the absence of the wood boring shipworm, Teredo navalis. Conditions for underwater archaeological work on the site are extremely favourable for the Baltic Sea. The off-shore location means no contact with land vegetation or exploited, polluted areas. These factors, in connection with the flat, bright and light-reflecting sand-bottom, offer great scope for underwater documentation in general, in particular the use of video and still-photography.


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