Friday, October 13, 2006

 

Past revealed as museum opens 330 year old coffin

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The Local
By Paul O'Mahony
October 13, 2006


A 330 year old coffin salvaged from the Royal Ship Kronan has just been opened at Kalmar County Museum.

Professional tools sealed for centuries behind the coffin door offer clues as to the identity of the deceased man.

"We found that the coffin belonged to a glassmaker. For example we located lead that is used for making windows, as well as a ruler and a glass cutter with a diamond at the end," project manager Lars Einarsson told The Local.

It is likely that the man was a civilian employed to repair any broken windows on the ship.

His services would have been of little use, however, when the ship capsized and exploded during the Battle of Öland on June 1 1676.

The ship set had sail with an 800-strong crew. Only 50 survived the catastrophe. The wreck of the Kronan was eventually recovered in 1980.

The museum's decision to open the coffin revealed more than just a professional portfolio.

"We also found personal belongings such as pewter flasks, pewter plates, a small cup, clay pipes and an egg-shaped snuff box," said Einarsson.

The name Hans Tursen was engraved on a pewter cup. This is the probable identity of the ship's glassmaker, who would have been just one of many civilians working hand in hand with the military on the ship.

Earlier finds from the Kronan include a trumpet, gold coins and a German-made cannon cast in 1514. In all 20,000 artefacts have been recovered from the wreck.

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