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The best preserved shipwreck ever found from the age of Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama has been discovered – at the bottom of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Estonia. The newly discovered Baltic Mary Celeste is also at the heart of a 500 year old maritime mystery. Virtually pristine condition, the vessel has been located by archaeologists at a depth of around more than 120 metres some 100 miles South East of Stockholm. Some 99 percent of the ship is intact – with the masts still standing tall and its two swivel guns in their firing positions. A small tender boat is still sitting on the deck, as is the wooden capstan. Even the bilge pump and elements of the rigging can be seen. The bowsprit and decorated transom stern are also clearly visible.
Although the ship is by far the best preserved vessel ever found from Europe’s Age of Discovery, it is of a Northern European rather than southern European design. However, the size of the ship, the shape of the perfectly preserved bow, the design of the anchors and of the masts and rigging are thought to be very similar to those of Columbus’ two smaller vessels, the Pinta and La Niña which he used along with the larger Santa Maria, to cross the Atlantic and discover America in 1492. The discovery will therefore help maritime archaeologists and historians to understand more fully some of the ship technologies available to Columbus for his great 1492 voyage of discovery.