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> Shipwreck - Gotheborg
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The East Indiaman Gotheborg (1745)

This ship sank the 12th of September, 1745, outside the city of Gothenburg, fully laden on returning home from China, with the home harbor clearly in sight. Why and how this happened remains a mystery. Almost everything on board that could be saved was salvaged almost immediately after the ship foundered. According to old documents found in the City archives, wet tea was dried in baking ovens all over the city "after which an unprecedented number of huge, newly hatched, roaches invaded the city". The remaining porcelain cargo was left where it was, under tons upon tons of river mud, broken chests and soggy tea leaves.

During the mid 19th century several attempts were made to bring up as much as possible of the old, now blackened oak hull. To this end some of the divers seem to have used dynamite. During a salvage expedition carried out by David Keiller and Carl Lyon during the summers of 1906-09, only around 3,000 undamaged porcelain pieces could be recovered within an area the size of a football field, which was covered with shards. The full total of undamaged eggshell tea sets salvaged probably numbered less than a few dozen.

During the period of 1983-92, an archeological, controlled excavation was organized by Anders and Berit Wästfelt which resulted in several exhibitions, a number of books, and a still ongoing project of building an actual sailing replica of the Gotheborg. Of the porcelain about 8 tons of shards and some 300 undamaged pieces were recovered. All of these are now safely deposited in Swedish museums and will never be available for sale.

In 2003 the harbor authorities, in order to improve navigation, leveled the site where the Gotheborg had foundered, and the depth of the harbor in that area was increased from about 6 to 14 meters by dredging. All that was left of the ship and its cargo is now either already salvaged or lost forever.

The number of authentic pieces from this, the only excavated Swedish East Indiaman, is thus extremely low.

Image Item Price  
For sale - Lid, Batavia brown, from the
Swedish East Indiaman
Gotheborg, c 1743Lid, Batavia brown, from the Swedish East Indiaman Gotheborg, c 1743
Lid, in "Batavia" style decoration. Brown glaze with reserve ...
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Found 1 items in this section