This summer, MMT participated in a historical expedition together with MARIS, Ocean Discovery and Deepsea productions. Two bronze cannons, taken from the battle ship Mars, are now stored in a water bath until they are ready to be exhibited at the Västervik Museum in Sweden.
The smaller cannon weighs approximately 200 pounds and was situated high up, probably in the bow of the ship. The second cannon weighs 1,600 kg and was situated on one of the two lower levels. The larger gun was partially damaged in the battle that made the ship sink in the Baltic sea on the 31st of May, 1564. These guns are unique and have never before been seen by the contemporary public or even some modern researchers until now.
Johan Rönnby, professor of maritime archeology at the Södertörns University (MARIS), points to a metal cast sheaf on the larger gun and explain that the larger sheaf shows that it is about the Vasa dynasty, and the smaller that his son Erik XIV inherited the throne from his father Gustav Vasa. The ship was commissioned by King Erik XIV and was part of his grand plans to take dominion over the Baltic Sea. Not long before the ship was sunk, Mars had reduced an enemy ship, possibly the first ever ship sunk in a cannon battle at sea. The enemy had, by all appearances, realized the power that Mars had along the ocean.
"They came up from two different directions, one lay alongside which the crew on Mars did not like. They tried to repel the ship, but without success. Mars with its 600 men boarded by 300 German soldiers and a fierce battle erupted. A fierce inferno broke out, which led to the ship exploding and sinking."
The partially damaged larger gun testifies to the ferocity of the battle. This is the reason why the expedition team chose to salvage this particular gun, it tells the story of the battle. Mars was both higher and longer than the ship Vasa. What makes the research of Mars so special is that scientists currently know very little about how the ship looked in the 1500s.
MMT is very happy to have been part in this historical expedition with its survey vessel Triad and skilled survey specialists. MMT´s project coordinator Joakim Holmlund comments on the expedition:
“The expedition this summer was actually the third large expedition to the wreck site. The expedition this season set very high goals in several areas. MMTs responsibility was to support the operations with technical solutions.
In order to achieve the best possible conditions for the UV-scenes in the coming documentary, a 12m tall light rig with more than 400 000 lumen (approximately 6000 Watts of LED light) were to be deployed over the wreck site and positioned in less than meter accuracy by USBL transponders.
A few heavy objects belonging to a cross section of the battle deck at the stern including the stern castle and cannons were to be recovered from the wreck, requiring a winch capable of loads up to two tons.
Finally a 3D scan of the wreck site using a Blueview BV5000 3D scanner on a tripod was to be conducted.
These operation conditions required a stable platform over the wreck site, in this case we used the survey vessel Triad in a 6 point mooring over the wreck site, also Triad had an Ocean Modules V8 ROV on board, the ROV was used to assist the recovery of the objects as well as moving the Tripod with the 3D scanner. The operations were very successful and the expedition reach all the goals, making high quality archaeology, film, recovery as well as starting a 3D documentation of the site with the Blueview, BV-5000. MMT is very happy to have been able to supply platforms and expertise regarding the complicated technical solutions required for this project”
The recovered objects will be preserved and placed at the Västerviks museum and displayed at the exhibition hall in August 2013.
For more information about the Mars exhibition, click here.