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The Discovery Blog

The cannons of the Mars

According to the latest research from Ingvar Sjöblom the leading historian on 16th century maritime history, the  Mars carried significantly more then 107 cannons.

Ingvar beliefs he has proof of the he exact number of cannons.  All but 4 where made of bronze.  The enemy side , the Danes and the Lübeck navies mostly had iron cannons of inferior quality.  Sweden which had abundant resources of copper had the luxury of equipping their more prestigious ships with the superior but very expensive bronze cannons. They could be loaded with more gun powder then the inferior iron cannons. More range and more penetrating power was the result.  This was a transition period of naval warfare. Mars was probably the first warship to sink an enemy vessel in direct cannon battle, the Lübeck ship Långe Barken. 

In this picture a diver is examining one of the many cannons of the Mars.  

Photo Ingemar Lundgren / Ocean Discovery

The dolphin "handle" of the cannon in close up.

A massive hull side

Mars port side is almost completely intact.  The hull side is massive with enormous oak timber and numerous gun ports.  In this picture the viewer can get an idea of the size.  There is no ambient light but the water is clear and as seen here using a slave strobe really helps lighting the scene.  Diving the Mars is an almost out of this world feeling with diving lights penetrating the green water creating a green eerie gloom.

Photographed by Tomasz Stachura/ Ocean Discovery.  

Rescue drills

Before diving operations started helicopter rescue drills where carried out.  The Visby search and rescue helicopter have been on standby during all diving operations.  Within 20min the helicopter is on site. The Mars is located in a remote area and the nearest chamber is several hours away by land.  So having access to a helicopter has been an important safety measure. 

Here the helicopter is lifting a doll from the deck of the Askholmen. Photo Ingemar Lundgren/Ocean Discovery 


The base camp at Böda hamn

The base of operations have been Böda hamn, Öland. Deep sea production´s boat the Zen have worked as a floating restaurant. Excellent food have been served everyday boosting the moral of the crew. MMT´s ship Askholmen have worked as a diving platform. The ship have plenty of space for 10 divers and crew. On board is a state of the art survey system, a Kongsberg multibeam sonar. The multi beam sonar have been used to survey the Mars and make exact measurements of the wreck site. The ship is also equipped with dynamic positioning which enables the vessel to stay at an exact position regardless of wind.

The RIB Skutt was used as a support vessel.


In front Askholmen and behind the Zen. Photo Ingemar Lundgren/Ocean Discovery 


Photographer Ingemar Lundgren preparing to dive onboard Askholmen


Measuring the Mars

Hundreds of measurements of the hull and its structure as well as many cannons have been carried out during the past two weeks. This information will be valuable to the archeologists in their work trying to understand how the Mars really looked like. More then 100 dives have been done the past 2 weeks with a perfect safety record.

Here Bjørn Opperud is measuring one of the many cannons. This cannon was 420cm long. Photo Ingemar Lundgren/Ocean Discovery 




The King of Sweden visits Mars


We are honored having the King visiting the Mars project.  The King who is also a diver and have participated in the excavations of the ship wreck Kronan have shown  great interest in the Mars project.  The King was taken out to the site where an ROV was operated showing live video from the wreck site.  The salvaged silver coins where also shown and the latest research results presented. 

We had a fantastic day at sea together with his majesty the King and we are very appreciative that the King is showing support and interest! 

From the left, Fredrik Skogh, Christoffer Modig, Richard Lundgren, Carl XVI Gustaf, Johan Rönnby, Carl Douglas. Photo Ingemar Lundgren/Ocean Discovery 


Silver coins salvaged from the Mars

Three silver coins have been salvaged from the Mars wreck site.  Two coins are identified as Erik the XIV silver dalers dated 1563. They are in very good condition. The third coin is not yet identified but is probably a so called "Klipping".  If this Is part of the legendary 200.000 silver coin treasure is to early to say. 

Photo Ingemar Lundgren/Ocean Discovery 


Erik the XIV silver dalers. These are dated 1567 but are otherwise identical. The back side of the coins have Erik the XIV coat of arms. To offend the Danes he added the Danish coat of arms, two lions. These coins tell a story by them selves. Mars is revealing more of its hidden treasure every day. Stay tuned for more updates soon.   



Field study nr 2 under way

Field study nr 2 is now in progress.  More then a dozen volunteer divers are exploring the wreck from July 1st to July 14th in this first phase of the field study.  
More information coming shortly.  

TV4 News clip


Tall Ship Battle 3D

Tall Ship Battle 3D is a true David and Goliath story. When Mars was built in the mid-16th century she was the world’s largest battleship; “unsinkable” likea Titanic of her time—and with powerful guns to keep enemy ships at bay. Yet in her first major battle she goes under, overpoweredby a fleet of smaller and more agile ships that refuse to bow to the might and glory of the giant tall ships.

Using state-of-the-art surveying technology, the epic discoveries and scientific exploration of the gargantuan admiral ships will help maritime archaeologists unlock the
secrets of tall ship naval warfare. Replicas of the huge guns will be tested to see if it was possibleto sink a ship from afar. Could cannonballs really penetrate their
thick oak hull? How was it to be a gunner on a tall ship in battle? How was war at sea fought and how did tactics and the ships evolve over time?

Tall Ship Battle 3D will be produced by Ocean Diiscovery, Deep Sea Production and Scandinature.  Filming will start in 2012. See this very early teaser to get an idea of this upcoming film. 

 Download PDF


Seminar Naval Battles - Stralsund Germany

Richard lundgren and Patrik Höglund from the Maritime museum is speaking at the Naval Battles seminar in Stralsund, Germany on the 31th of Mars. 

OZEANEUM Stralsund
Hafenstrasse 11 D-18493 Stralsund
29. March - 1. April 2012

Naval Battles
Historical Monuments and Sources of Maritime Warfare
- From Thalassocracy to the Battle in the Moon Sound -

application/pdf iconProgram PDF


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