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17th Century Shipwrecks Found

July 19, 1998

SCHLESWIG, Germany (AP) _ Following up on a 139-year-old tip, archaeologists have found nine shipwrecks dating from the 17th century buried in mud at a Baltic Sea inlet in northern Germany.

The 30- to 50-foot boats are believed to be from a military fleet that sank during the Thirty Years’ War, a series of political and religious conflicts in Europe from 1618 to 1648.

The team was led to the find by a note written in 1859 and found in the state’s museum archives, said Willi Kramer, head of the Schleswig-Holstein state archaeology department.

In the note, royal surveyor Wilhelm von Sommer said that an unusually violent storm on Feb. 11, 1859 drove water from the Schlei inlet, near Schleswig, and partially uncovered a number of old wrecks.

The archaeological team, which began searching in 1996, found nine boats buried under about six feet of mud in the inlet. Kramer said Thursday that he did not rule out finding more boats in the area.

The exact age of the ships is to be confirmed only after they are excavated from the inlet, Kramer said.

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