© Swedish Maritime Museum
The Swedish man of war Vasa, Stockholm, Sweden. The salvage of the Swedish man of war Vasa took several years to undertake. Navy divers dug 6 tunnels under the ship, which lay on a depth of 32 m. Steel cables were drawn through the tunnels and attached to lifting pontoons on the surface. Finally, after several separate lifts, the shipwreck was brought up in 1961. The archaeological excavation of the shipwreck was conducted on the surface. It took about half a year to complete and resulted in 40,000 objects. The shipwreck, with all its objects and the preservation of its wooden structure of mainly oak wood, weighing 1,500 tonnes, was of course an enormous challenge. The raising of a shipwreck, as complex as the Vasa, would probably not happen today in Sweden. It would be regarded too costly in relation to the scientific benefits and a too a big risk when it comes to conservation and developing a successful museum.

Securing funding is a recurrent problem for underwater archaeological projects. It is a stumbling block over which naïvely planned operations come to grief. The result may be major damage to the heritage affected, without this being offset by project results. In view of the fragile nature of underwater cultural heritage and its nature as a public resource, this is indefensible. An adequate funding base should be assured in advance of any activity. No less than three Rules of the Annex address this issue.

The arguments of this chapter are:

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