Archaeologists are hailing an "extraordinary" 800-year-old shipwreck recently discovered in the icy waters off the coast of Sweden.
While the Swedish media has been full of speculation that the wreckage may be the remains of an ancient Viking ship, Lars Einarsson, underwater archaeologist at the Kalmar County museum, preaches caution. "It was built in the same style as the Viking ships, but that's not saying much," he told The Local. "Some ships on Norway's west coast are still built in that style. This is certainly a medieval wreck, and this is exciting as there haven't been many found from this time."
Viking ship or not, Einarsson estimates the craft may date back to the year 1250 or 1300 based on the ship's wood. According to a NewsCore report, experts are hoping to discover medieval treasures amid the wreckage, thereby justifying a more thorough (and expensive) archaeological dig.
The first discovery of a Viking shipwreck in Swedish waters didn't occur until May of 2009, reports the Digital Journal. Most finds instead occur on land.
This isn't the first time a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea has drawn global attention. A "mystery ship" discovered in June 2011 nearly 300 feet underwater in that region has been described as a "UFO," and drawn comparisons to the Millennium Falcon from "Star Wars". After an extensive inquiry, divers have yet to fully identify the object.
“During my 20-year diving career, including 6000 dives, I have never seen anything like this," said Stefan Hogeborn, a diver from the Ocean X Team that explored the wreckage in a statement. "I can’t explain what we saw, and I went down there to answer questions, but I came up with even more questions.“
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article displayed a wrong photo. The article has been changed to correct this error.
BEFORE YOU GO
Flickr photo via Hohlkörper