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Centuries-Old, Well-Preserved Shipwrecks Found In Baltic Sea

3/10/2010 12:31 AM ET

Twelve centuries-old shipwrecks--some of them unusually well-preserved--were reported to have been found in the Baltic Sea by a gas company probing the sea-bed to lay a large gas pipeline, Sweden's experts said Tuesday.

The wrecks were discovered east of the Swedish island of Gotland by a Russian-led Nord Stream consortium, laying a 750-mile natural-gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

The oldest wreck probably dates back to medieval times and may be 800 years old, while the others are likely to be from the 17th to 19th centuries, said Peter Norman of Sweden's National Heritage Board.

"They could be interesting, but we have only seen pictures of their exterior. Many of them are considered to be fully intact. They look very well-preserved," he added, stressing that the discovery offered enormous culture-historical value.

Thousands of wrecks--from medieval ships to warships--sunk during the two world wars of the last century were found in the Baltic Sea, which does not have the ship worm that destroys wooden wrecks in saltier waters, which could be the reason for the well-preserved nature of the shipwrecks.

by RTT Staff Writer

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