HUMA Maritime archaeology Gotland
HUMA continues- 3rd season of field studies
During the summer 2010 the investigations within the HUMA-project continued, focusing on the ship from the Danish-Lübeckian fleet that went down off Krusmyntagården in Väskinde, Gotland. The aim was to conduct a more thorough search of the find rich area discovered in 2009 along with recovering any remaining silver coins. The investigations started out with search dives using metal detector during two weeks. During the third week a test pit was excavated, then the commemoration day was held and after that the search dives continued. The find rich area offered a couple of surprises, for one thing its north-eastern boundary was well defined and the other was that a great number of silver coins were dispersed over the entire area.
The dive teams rolled out search lines perpendicular to the shore and the base line, and both sides were scanned using a metal detector. Finds that appeared to emanate from the fleet were documented through photographs, and sometimes by taking measurement and drawing sketches. Objects of certain interest were recovered after being photographed in situ, and the location was marked with a small buoy which position the boat operator registered with the GPS as soon as possible. All information was transferred to a log book immediately after the dive, and gathered to an inventory plan underway.
The excavation was conducted in the area located during the search in 2009. There was hope on finding more of the “small change”, the kind of coins of minor denomination like the Danish 1-mark and 2-shilling, and at the same time see if there were any remains of material other than metal present. The “digging” was done by fanning off sand and debris. By actually fanning debris away instead of digging, items are more easily located since they stay in place while the sand is removed.
The finds consisted primarily of metal objects, which is quite natural given that most part of the investigation took place using metal detectors. In the test pit a piece of ceramic appeared, probably a piece of the rim of a tripodal pot. Far from all finds were recovered, “regular” cannonballs, other previously known projectiles and unidentifiable iron objects were left in place.
The recovered finds consisted of coins, sheet lead, sinkers and projectiles. Only a few objects of precious metal were recovered; a ring, possibly of silver, a block bearing of copper and the handle of a seal stamp. Unfortunately the stamping surface was completely eroded and no characters could be defined, otherwise it could have given some kind of indication on who it once belonged to, a person on board.
Close to 50 hours were spent underwater during the three weeks, and almost every dive was conducted by a team of three divers. Many days we were faced with bad weather and had to cancel diving, so everyone were very eager to get in the water when possible. All wind messed up the visibility some days and being three divers during those dives was very handy as one person could keep an eye on the other two and keep the team together.
During the commemoration day the replica of the ships cannon was fired (blank) twice with the aid of the local medieval reenactment society; Gutniska gardet, who also brought their own cannon inspired by field cannons from the 15th century and a hand cannon; an arquebus with roots in the 14th century which is merely an iron pipe attached to a wooden rod. The day was well visited despite a lot of rain and media covered the events closely.