Research diving produces new information on underwater cultural heritage. The diver in the image is taking systematic video recordings of the wreck for the 3D photogrammetric model. 3D model by Kari Hyttinen and Pasi Lammi, The End of Glory Days -project. Photo: Riikka Tevali, Finnish Heritage Agency.

International research project to look for stories about Suomenlinna wrecks


The Finnish Heritage Agency will be participating in an international research programme called ‘The Lost Navy: Sweden's "blue" heritage c. 1450–1850,’ implemented in 2021–2026. The Finnish subproject ‘The End of Glory Days?’ will examine wrecks in Suomenlinna and inspire interest in sunken ships and history. An open webinar on 2 October discussed the impact of climate change on research into underwater cultural heritage.

The programme aims to collect information about the ships in the Swedish fleet and their life stories. The project will be the most extensive joint marine archaeology and history project in the Baltic Sea region thus far. The research programme is coordinated by Stockholm University and funded primarily by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond,

In Finland, the ‘End of Glory Days?’ research project will focus on Suomenlinna and the shipwrecks located around it. What happened to the more than one hundred archipelago fleet ships left behind as loot in the fortress in 1808? We will also be taking a better look at other wrecks of Swedish warships and continuung research on the Hahtiperä wreck found in Oulu in 2019.

The goal of the first year of the ‘End of Glory Days?’ research project is to create a functioning structure for the project and obtain resources from various sources. The project values direction and commitment above speed, because underwater secrets cannot be uncovered instantaneously. The research work will take sustainable development principles into account and apply them to practical work.

Marine archaeology research to be strengthened

Knowing the past of the Baltic Sea and the shared history of the people and the area will shed light on many developments and create a healthier and safer future for all countries on the shores of the Baltic. Confirmed data will help protect the unique environment in the Baltic Sea and its cultural heritage, as well as assisting us in making increasingly sustainable choices in terms of culture and ecology going forward.

Marine archaeology is only just starting to establish itself in the field of research in Finland. The first academic generation has matured to the point of producing doctoral theses, and next, we need to ensure that the field remains viable. The ‘End of Glory Days?’ project is also aimed at fostering the next generation of research divers by organising underwater teaching excavations around Suomenlinna.

The research programme partners include the Centre for Maritime Studies (CEMAS) of Stockholm University, the maritime and transport history museums of Sweden (SMTM) and the Finnish Heritage Agency. The Finnish Heritage Agency has partnered with the Governing Body of Suomenlinna, the Marine Archaeological Society of Finland, the University of Helsinki, the Ehrensvärd Society and experts from various fields for the ‘End of Glory Days?’ project. The project is coordinated by Marine Archaeologist Minna Koivikko (PhD) from the Finnish Heritage Agency.

Further information

Minna Koivikko, +358 (0)295 33 6215 and minna.koivikko@museovirasto.fi

More information on the project

Follow marine archaeologists from the Finnish Heritage Agency on Instagram: @sunkenheritage_fin

An English-language researcher seminar was held on Suomenlinna on Saturday 2 October 2021 with themes such as the significance of sustainable development from the point of view of underwater research.

The event was part of the DAN Europe Foundation’s Sustainable Tour (www.sustainabletour.eu), which journeyed 15,000 kilometres around Europe over the summer and autumn using an electric vehicle and learning more about companies supporting sustainable development, as well as environmental and marine protection programmes.

Representatives of DAN Europe talked about their tour at the seminar. The event featured discussions about the implementation of the ongoing wreck mapping project in the spirit of sustainable development and the impact of climate change on the Baltic Sea. We also learned more about the new Finnish Scientific Diving Academy in Tvärminne.

A recording of the seminar is available on the Finnish Heritage Agency YouTube channel

A diving event was held on Friday 1 October with participants such as Alana Alvarez and Manuel Bustelo, representatives from the DAN Europe Foundation for the safety of diving, who are touring Europe in an electric vehicle and promoting marine protection. Marine Archaeologist Minna Koivikko from the Finnish Heritage Agency, who heads the ‘End of Glory Days?’ Finnish subproject, was also present.

A recording of the event is available on the Finnish Heritage Agency YouTube channel