At a depth of 100 metres in Swedish waters between Gotland and the mainland lies a very well preserved wooden wreck that was discovered in 1998 by the Swedish Navy.
The wreck was filmed from an ROV at the time of the discovery and the images that emerged were exceptional. They included images of a figurehead in the shape of a horse with a curly mane, a serpentine tail and clawed hands.
The wreck is extremely well preserved because of the cold and dark depths. In 2008 and 2009, expeditions were carried out from Pagi, a diving vessel, during which divers descended to the wreck and filmed it. With the help of the films, archaeologists have been able to identify it as a snow brig (“snaubrigg” in Swedish) from the 18th century, about 25 metres long and 6 metres wide. A snow brig was a special type of sailing ship with two tall masts and square sails and a smaller gaff sail on a slim, smaller mast fastened just abaft the main mast.
The ship’s masts are still standing. The deck is almost completely preserved, with only a few planks missing. On the deck are blocks and other rigging elements, as well as two bilge pumps.
The vessel has a small hold amidships, but does not seem to have been purely a cargo vessel. A total of twelve ports in the hull have been interpreted as gun ports, which suggests that heavy armament was possible, though no guns have yet been found on board. This makes archaeologists believe that Sjöhästen may have been used by a northern European navy for patrols, attacks or escort duty.