Wrecks & shipfinds in Denmark:
The earliest nomadic settlers arrived in Denmark at the end of the Ice Age, ca 11,000–8,000 BC.
During the Ertebølle Culture 5200–4000 BC, people were hunting and fishing, using logboats.
- Tybrind Vig logboats. Located in a submerged Stone Age settlement.
Three logboats have been found, dated to c 4000 BC. the longest is 10 m long
and made of lime
wood. It is now conserved and displayed at the Århus Museum. Described by Detlev Ellmers in The Earliest Ships (Conway Maritime Press 1996).
boat. Found in a bog on the island of Als in 1921/22. Constructed with stitched planks and the age
has been estimated to early 3rd century BC. It is 14 m long and may have been a warship. Displayed at the
National Museum, Copenhagen. The peculiar hull shape corresponds to the ship
images on Nordic Bronze Age rock carvings. Ref Ellmers: Frühmittelalterliche Handelsshiffahrt in Mittel- und
Bornholm Island. Found during excavations of grave sites around 1960. All wood had perished, but
impressions of boats were left in the sand. The original boats has been dated to 1st-4th centuries AD.
Report in German. In 2000-2001, one of the boats has been
reconstructed by the Swiss boat builder J.-Ph. Mayerat.
- The Nydam boats. Perfectly preserved from 3rd-5th centuries AD, found
in a bog in 1863.
- Gredstedbro boat.
Fragments of a boat were found in 1945. Total length may have been 20-25 m. Dated by J.S. Illsley to 7th
century AD. Dated by Detlev Ellmers to 550 ±100 AD. Ref Ellmers: Frühmittelalterliche Handelsshiffahrt
in Mittel- und Nordeuropa.
- Ladby ship. 22 m long Viking ship
(warship type) from
10th century found in a grave mound at Kerteminde, Fyn, in 1935. All wood had rotted away but the
rivets were in place, outlining the hull shape, just like the
Sutton Hoo ship.
This is the only known ship burial in Denmark. The remains are
displayed in a museum.
- The Skuldelev ships. Five Viking ships that
were sunk in the 11th century at Skuldelev to make a barrage across a narrow channel. Excavated 1957-1969
and the ships are now on display in Roskilde.
- The Roskilde ships. When the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde was
expanded in 1997, remains of another 9 ships were found underneath. The ships are are now being conserved.
They are dated to the period from ca 1025 to 1336. But should these new finds be displayed that emerged
because of the museum expansion. Suppose that the museum now has to expand again for these new
finds – will they find even more ships?
- Eltang Vig ship. In 1943 this ship was found in the Koldingfjord. Investigated in 1947. The 18
m long clinkered construction indicates a cog from 12th century or later. Ref Ellmers:
Frühmittelalterliche Handelsshiffahrt in Mittel- und Nordeuropa.
- Kollerup cog. Stranded at Kollerup. First dated to 13th century, but later dendro dating places
it to c 1150. Found and investigated on land in 1978. Ca 20 m long. Ref Skalk 4/79
- Kolding cog.
This ship was found in 1943. Loose parts were recovered in the same year, measured and then reburied. Both
position of the reburied parts and the ship were lost. In 1999-2000 it was found again, and lifted in
2001. Investigated by Fred Hocker. The planks have been dendro dated to the winter 1188-1189. The
parts are being conserved at the Kollinghus Museum. The ship may have been c 16 m long.
Ref Marinarkæologisk Nyhedsbrev 14/2000 and 16/2001.
- The Ellingå ship. Found 1922,
lifted in 1968, and brought to the Bangsbo Museum. Made of clinkered oak, 14 m long and dated to 1163. Ref
Ellmers: Frühmittelalterliche Handelsshiffahrt in Mittel- und Nordeuropa.
Photo by Axel Nelson.
- Aggersund boat. 12 m long clinker built ship from 13th
century. Discovered in Limfjorden in 1996. The hull is up side down in the mud. To be excavated in 2000.
Described in Maritime Archaeology Newsletter 8/97.
Originally perhaps 12-18 m long cog found in 1976 at Vejby strand. Only a bottom mid-section remained on 2
m depth. On board were ceramics and c 100 English gold coins dated 1351–1377. Thanks to the coins, the
ship is dated to after 1377. Ref Skalk 6/76.
- The B&W shipyard wrecks,
Copenhagen. 8 wrecks were found in 1996. They were from early 17th century. Ref Maritime Archaeology
- Stinesminde kravel. Located off Jutland on 10-12 m depth. Two-masted kravel
ship from first half of 17th century, possibly Dutch. The hull is preserved. One mast
still rises 1½ m above the deck level. Ref: Dansk Sportsdykker Forbunds Arkæologiske
Udvalg, marinarkæologisk konference 2003.
- Brederode. Dutch frigate
sunk near Helsingör in 1658. Parts were salvaged in 1909 and in the 1940s and 50s.
- Den förgyllda solen. Swedish ship going from France to Sweden, sunk in 1673 off Bornholm. Found
in 1969. Ref Skalk 2/70.
- Dannebroge. Danish 78 or 82 gun
warship sunk in 1710 during battle against a Swedish navy. Despite fire onboard she kept fighting until
she exploded. Sank with Admiral Huitfeldt and 500 men on 12 m depth in Köge Bay. Some of the valuable
bronze guns were salvaged in 1711-1714 and 1873-1875. The site is being investigated since 1985. Finds are
on display in the Orlogsmuseum, Copenhagen.
- Prinds Christian Frederik. This happened during the war between Denmark and England 1801-1814.
On 22 March 1808 this Danish battleship encountered a larger English unit at Sjællands Odde. After an
uneven battle the ship was sunk, being the last large Danish battleship.
- St George. English warship beached at Thorsminde
in 1811. In 1980 the main deck and lower gundeck were discovered, protruding ca 1-4 m above the
sand bottom. At a storm in 1981 the gun deck broke apart. Ref Historiske vrag og søforter (Det Arkæologiske Nævn
- Birger Jarl. Swedish Navy frigate, 42 guns. In 1813 she was on a
routine patrol in the south Baltic Sea. Off Møn Island, she suddenly started to leak and finally sank,
despite calm weather. There were not enough lifeboats and about 160 men drowned. It is assumed that a
plank had loosened, since she had ran aground shortly before. The wreck was discovered on 25 m depth in
1974. According to reports she was well preserved, the hull in one piece and the guns neatly in position.
According to recent reports, the hull has now partly collapsed, but the guns are still in position on the
gun deck. Described in IJNA 7.1 1978, and Looking for Leads & Spår av hav, yxa
och penna both by Christian Ahlström.
- U-251. German submarine of type VII C sunk in
April 1945 in Kattegatt, between Denmark and Sweden. Discovered in 1993 on 32 m depth.
- U-534. German submarine of type IX C sunk in 1945 off
the Danish coast. Lifted and brought to the UK as a museum piece in 1993.
- The wreck list of The St George Shipwreck Museum,
The list is sorted chronologically. This is an abstract of the list in Swedish.
Hjortspring boat drawing © Axel Nelson, U-534 photo ©
Gaz. Page rev