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Scientific research

The discovery of the Mars, together with previously known wrecks in the Baltic Sea, such as "Kraveln" (1525), "Vasa" (1628) and "Kronan" (1676) gives an opportunity for new insight into the formative period of Sweden's history as a nation state.

They also sheds further light on the way this process played out and in doing so, reveal not only the ship as a principal tool of European state building, but more generally as both manifestation and agent of social change.

The ongoing documentation of the wreck also emphasizes the violent course and the chaotic environment on board during the battles. The site with all the guns and the ship itself are a well preserved "maritime battlefield". This opens up potential issues related to practical solutions in naval battles, but also symbolic, mental and psychological aspects associated with warfare in general and human behavior in such situations and environments.

A TV-film and exhibitions linked to the project are planned by the founders in close cooperation with MARIS and other institutions involved.

A research team led by  professor Johan Rönnby (MARIS), Niklas Eriksson (MARIS), Ingvar Sjöblom (Swedish National Defence College), Jon Adams, (Southampton University), Kekke Stadin, (Södertörn University)  has been formed to bring the wreck discovery in a larger context.

According to Johan Rönnby, professor of marine archeology and lead researcher at Södertörn University (MARIS), the research does not focus solely on the Mars. He offers instead a number of examples of how research could be expanded.

  • The discovered shipwreck can show how naval warfare was developed in Sweden.
  • The ships are part of a societal change where new nation-states are growing up around the Baltic Sea. The Mars, together with other ships show how important the Navy was for Sweden.
  • Shipwrecks shows an ossified moment. They can be compared to historical sources such as books and notes from 1500 - and 1600's.
  • What happened on the battlefield? The Mars sank after a ferocious battle. Evidence can be seen how the ship burned, the cannon balls have penetrated the ship and the inferno that occurred on board.
  • Warships from 1500 - and 1600's is the regents power symbol and shows a warlike masculinity. They decorated the ships as symbols of the state, the nobility, the king and masculinity.
  • How are Swedish hero images? The masters on board Mars have become symbols of heroism. Admiral Jacob Bagge faught to the bitter end.   


Current research partners