Bodekull, also known as the Dalarö wreck, is one of the world’s best preserved 17th-century wrecks, lying at about 30 metres depth by Edesön island off Dalarö. Although it is a fairly small ship, about 20 meters long, with a hold and six gun ports, its silhouette is similar to the larger warships.
The name of the ship comes from where the ship was built, Karlshamn was called Bodekull until 1664. The ship was the first built at the shipyard in Bodekull, and was launched in October 1660, only two years after the Peace of Roskilde (February 1658) when Skåne and Blekinge became Swedish. Bodekull was one of several ships in a planned landing fleet, but after the king’s death in 1660, the earlier plans to invade Denmark was cancelled. It was decided that the ships would be built as small frigates to operate in several different contexts.
Story of sinking
In 1675, war broke out again, and Denmark tried to regain the provinces lost to Sweden in the Peace of Roskilde in 1658. In the autumn of 1678 the Swedish fleet searched for a winter harbour north of Kalmar, in order to avoid the late ice breaks on the northern Baltic Sea. In order to feed the people onboard the ships, Olof Styff was sent with Bodekull to grind grain in a mill along the Östergötland coast, or possibly northern Småland. Despite these instructions the skipper instead sailed all the way to the mill at Fagerholmen in the Stockholm archipelago. On the way back the ship ran aground and sank. 20 barrels of water mixed flour was rescued from the sinking ship and taken to Stockholm. The extensive discussions about how the water soaked flour could be baked into bread was entered in the Admiralty meeting protocols. It is these documents that reveal that the Bodekull sank in the area north of Dalarö.
Story of discovery
Bodekull was discovered in 2003 by the Marine Culture Society. Later the Swedish Maritime Museum’s archaeologists in cooperation with the University of Southampton and Södertörn University conducted surveys on the site.
When the ship was discovered a few items where salvaged, including a glass bottle with a mark in the shape of a noble coat of arms with three crescents. The motive is found on several noble coat of arms in Europe. The glass bottle could by its form be dated to the period 1640-1670.
On Bodekull you can see ceramic bottles of a special type called Bartmann jugs. Such bottles were made during the 1600s in large quantities. In these jugs all sorts of different liquid products – such as wine, oil and chemicals – were shipped and stored. The jars are decorated with a bearded face and Bartmann means “bearded man” in German.