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Archaeologists look for medieval boats sunken in Neva River

Archaeologists look for medieval boats sunken in Neva River

There are many secrets to be discovered on the bottom of the Neva River flowing through St. Petersburg. Archaeologists started studying the vessels that sank in the river in different epochs just recently. Using sounders, they have already discovered 150 underwater objects.

Saint-Petersburg TV Channel reporter Artyom Sharipov comes with details.

Artyom Sharipov reports: ‘The basin of the Neva has never been properly examined. Researchers started sounding the bottom just a year ago and already found 150 anomalies. While it is still unclear what sort of objects these are, they believe more than half of them are sunken ships.’

Most of the ships are barges. The one found near the Menshikov Palace sunk, presumably, during the Second World War. Most likely, it was transporting parts of a ship to be processed, but was sunken. 

Ships would sink in the Neva for different reasons, the most common being collision. Sometimes, they were destroyed by ice in winter. The largest number of vessels was lost during the Civil war when they were left unattended along the embankments for several years. Many ships sank in floods.

Andrey Lukoshkov, scientific consultant, Russian Geographical Society, tells: ‘There are several boats along that bank. Most likely, they were lost in a flood.’

Sunken ships are found along the embankment up to the Hermitage. Researchers will first take wood samples from them to find out when and where they were built. Only after that, a search for artefacts will start. Luckily, the visibility in the Neva is 2-3 meters, much better than in the Gulf of Finland, where it is just a meter. The problem is to sort out real artefacts from garbage.

Sergey Fokin, Director, Underwater Research Center, Russian Geographical Society, explains: ‘There is a layer of garbage covering the ships, pans, tires, furniture.’

The researchers hope to find a medieval boat in the Neva.

Aivar Stepanov, researcher, Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says: ‘Why not?  It was part of the Great Volga Route, the route from the Varangians to the Greeks. Something medieval should be found.’

Later search will show if there are sunken medieval boats in the Neva. The project has just started, it will continue full-scale next year.

Photo: pixabay.com