Hedvig Sophia Project

Diver recording the stern of the wreck of the Hedvig Sophia

In 2010 we conducted our annual underwater fieldschool on the wreck of the Swedish warship Prinsessan Hedvig Sophia near Bülk in the German state Schleswig-Holstein. Together with staff from the local state authority for archaeology, the “Archäologisches Landesamt Schleswig-Holstein” and divers from the University of Kiel, we spent three weeks recording the wreck site and recovering finds from the area around the site. We continued our work in 2011 with a second field school.

The Hedvig Sophia was a Swedish 80 gun ship of the line, built in 1692. In April 1715, she acted as flagship of the Swedish Admiral Wachtmeister, who was defeated by a Danish squadron in an action off the Fehmarn peninsula. Unable to escape with his badly damaged fleet after the battle, Wachtmeister decided to run his ships aground and destroy them near Bülk at the mouth of the Kieler Förde. Despite desperate attempts to render the ships unusable, all but one vessel could be captured and salvaged by the Danes. Only the Hedvig Sophia was lost and remained on the seabed until her discovery in 2008.

A webpage reporting on earlier work on the site can be found here (in German).

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