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Field research at the wreck of the Vrouw Maria by the Maritime Museum of Finland in 2003

Photo: Ulla Klemelä (2003)
Mixed gas divers after the dive. Photo: Ulla Klemelä (2003).

A research camp was organised at the Vrouw Maria wreck between 26 May and 8 June 2003. Fieldwork was also carried out at the Vrouw Maria on 26 August and 8-9 October 2003.

The research tasks in 2003 were mainly linked to the two themes of the MoSS project: monitoring the wreck and documenting it for visualisation.

This year too ascertaining the condition and environmental factors of the wreck continued as part of the international MoSS project under the EU's Culture 2000 programme. Documentation work on the wreck also continued. In addition, a group of biologists from Helsinki University surveyed the biological organisms at the wreck, measured the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water and took a timber sample from the deck of the wreck for further analysis. As well as researchers from the Maritime Museum of Finland, the camp was also attended, as in previous years, by a group of volunteer divers. Research partners included Helsinki University, the Archipelago National Park/Metsähallitus and the Finnish Institute of Marine Research.


Monitoring developments in the condition of the wreck

During the research camp, aerobic timber samples were retrieved from beside the wreck after a year in the water, which were packed up and sent to the UK for analysis. Next to the wreck, in the sea bed, 3, 5, 10, and 50 year timber samples (anaerobic) were buried, and covered in sediment from the sea bed.

Photo: Mari Salminen (2003)
Packing the timber samples taken from beside the wreck. Photo: Mari Salminen (2003).

Research was also carried out into the environment of the wreck of the Vrouw Maria by measuring the oxygen and salt content in the water, its pH, the redox state of the water, the temperature and the current using measuring equipment next to the wreck (ADCP and CTD). The CTD was raised at the start of the research camp and sent to the Finnish Institute of Marine Research where the equipment was serviced and the data gathered. The CTD was returned before the end of the camp and was placed in position beside the wreck to continue taking measurements.

In late August (26.8) one-year anaerobic timber and fabric samples were raised and sent to the UK. These were replaced by nine-month fabric samples, which were covered. The ADCP/CTDI was raised once more to extract the data and for servicing. Timber samples were taken from the deck of the wreck, one of which was sent to the UK for study while the other was studied by biologists at Helsinki University. Finally the redox state in the sediment on the sea bed was measured using equipment on loan from Mary Rose Services Ltd.

In October (8-9 October) the ADCP/CTDI measuring equipment was returned to its position next to the wreck of the Vrouw Maria.



At the end of May 2003 visibility conditions at the site of the Vrouw Maria were excellent. Photography and video recording were very successful in clear water. The conditions were exploited to the full by photographing the inside of the wreck by working a camera inside the wreck through the holes in the deck. The water was also clear inside the wreck and a wealth of new information was gained from inside the hull. The only area which was not photographed was from the mainmast to the ship's pumps.

An angle meter (goniometer) was used to take additional measurements of the hull of the wreck at the bow and the stern. Six lines were measured from the stern (78 measurements) and one line from the bow (20 measurements). Because several different measuring techniques were used at the wreck, they were linked together using four-point measurement. The same method was used to link the different structures of the deck to each other and to the hull of the vessel. In August and October it was no longer necessary to obtain additional information for modelling the wreck.

Photo: Teemu Liakka (2003)
Measuring the angle of the side of the ship using a goniometer. Photo: Teemu Liakka (2003).

Photo: Teemu Liakka (2003)
Oven inside the wreck. Photo: Teemu Liakka (2003).


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Last updated 30.10.2015
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