Shipwrecks represent a part of the international cultural heritage. The history of one ship is commonly linked to many different countries (e.g. the country where the ship was built; where the crew was from; by the cargo of the ship; the shipwreck location etc.)
Many shipwrecks have preserved only partially and therefore a thorough analysis of the records found from different archives play a very important role in identifying the shipwrecks. On the other hand, archival records are also the basis for carrying out archaeological fieldworks in order to find a specific object. The archival records and shipwrecks are sources which complement each other and together form a whole.
As lead partner, the Estonian National Heritage Board has the responsibility to coordinate the cooperation between project partners in order to ensure the fluent implementation of the project. In addition to the responsibilities of project management, the main activities are: establishing and developing an internet-based shipwreck database and carrying out underwater archaeological researches.
The role of the National Archives of Estonia is to identify the archival records which reflect the history of shipwrecks. They will carry out expeditions to the Danish, Dutch and Swedish archives and enter the data they find into the shipwreck register. Sources related to the maritime history and shipwrecks will be digitized and made accessible through the collection of digitized archival records Saaga which will be linked with the shipwreck register.
The Estonian Maritime Museum will make entries into the shipwreck register of the materials gathered throughout the years from underwater archaeological fieldworks and organize an exhibition of the most remarkable findings.
The Swedish National Maritime Museums will update the existing Swedish shipwreck register, carry out underwater archaeological fieldworks and conduct a variety of events outside the museum premises.
Within the framework of the project there will be seminars organized, a
book published and different excursions carried out, with the intention to
introduce maritime history to a wider audience.
One aim of the project is to create an internet-based database which will be linked with the already existing databases of project partners, making it possible for divers and non-divers alike to obtain an overall picture of shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea.
Project Shipwreck Heritage: Digitizing and Opening Access to Maritime History Sources (SHIPWHER) was approved by the Central Baltic Programme Steering Committee on 15.04.2010. The project is conducted by the National Heritage Board of Estonia, the National Archives of Estonia, the Estonian Maritime Museum, the Swedish National Maritime Museums and it will be in progress until spring 2013.
FINDS FROM THE ESTONIAN HISTORICAL ARCHIVES