Gustav II Adolf’s famous flagship found at Skeppsholmen

By on September 8, 2017

The shipwrecks discovered at Skeppsholmen this summer have most probably been identified as Scepter, one of Gustav II Adolf’s flagships, built in 1615.
– It’s so awesome as it belongs to the generation of ships before Vaasa. But above all, in this case, we can tell a story that is long and eventful,
said Jim Hansson, marine archaeologist at the Maritime Museum, which is part of the state maritime museums.

At the beginning of the summer was found previously unknown remnants of a large, older warship at the excavation work in the quay at the Östra Brobänken at Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. The discovery was made in connection with Statens Fastighetsverks renovation of the quayside. The archaeologists of the Maritime History Museum have the task of the county administrative board to supervise the search for important older finds. And out came a flagship from Gustav II Adolf’s fleet.

– This wreck can tell you a lot about how the ships were built, and in this case, for example, we can get a good picture how the transom form may have looked like. The wreck and the story itself do not get the same weight as when we can couple them, now it becomes like a kind of magic. Although this has been one of Gustav II Adolf’s flagships, it has fallen into oblivion. The find allows us to lift the stories about it. And so it’s awesome that we know that the king has been on board the ship, which we now have the honor of boarding, said Jim Hansson.

Scepter has a long history, which is partly documented in written sources and is about various sea train, fights and groundings. Among other things, it is described how the king himself sailed with the ship several times. During a trip to Germany there is a moment story of how it looked in Kajutan that Gustav II Adolf was in out at the sea:

The ship Scepter, on which Gustaf II Adolf and the Pfaltzgreven traveled to Germany in the spring of 1620, had large-scale Kajutan covered with gilded leather on the green bottom, the sky with green taffeta and the little quay with red-doubled taffeta, sky and all coated…

Scepter means the spiral in Latin and the ship began to be built 1612-1613 at Arnö in Mälaren by the Dutch shipbuilding master Isbrand Johansson. The ship was completely clear in 1617 and was ready to be part of Gustav II Adolf’s fleet.

What happens now?
Statens Fastighetsverk continues the work of earthwork in the quay at Skeppsholmen during the autumn and the archaeologists of the Maritime Museum will be in place and document if several parts of the ship will appear.

– Most of the wreck will remain where it was found, but it will be dug more in the wreck area and we will also be there to document. Who knows what’s more is hidden there, said Jim Hansson.

All finds and remnants that appear are documented carefully. After the excavation ends comes a period when all collected material shall be compiled and be described in a report.

Culture & Music | Stockholm