Gdańsk (Pologne): Another ship in the "Bay of Virtual Shipwreck Park"

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland

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Mzawediynq ten sam rejon wraka w pazdzierniku 2014

The area of the wreck in October 2014. Photo: NMM

3D model of the wreck of the first half of the nineteenth century cargo ship "Portowiec" can be seen in a video prepared and shared by the National Maritime Museum (NMM) in Gdańsk.

The vessel was studied in June and October 2014 by underwater archaeologists from the NMM. Until now, scientists presented in 3D the condition of the wrecks before the start of the excavation work. In the case of "Portowiec" it is different.

"Thanks to the efforts of the research team we present the various stages of the work on the wreck. By watching the animation you can take a virtual walk inside a wreck and feel like an underwater archaeologist studying an historical object" - explained Tomasz Bednarz, author and head of the project "Bay of Gdańsk Virtual Shipwreck Park".

3D animation and photographs of the wreck show the object in the beginning of the research project in June 2014, and after unveiling of part of its structure in October 2014. The animation has been prepared by Janusz Różycki and Tomasz Bednarz - underwater archaeologists from the Department of Underwater Research NMM.

Wreck F53.14, called "Portowiec" is a wreck of a sailing vessel built of oak, at least 30 meters long. The researchers speculate that the vessel was built probably in the first decade of the nineteenth century. Analysis showed that the wood used in its construction came from Eastern Pomerania.

During last year's excavations, archaeologists recovered more than 140 objects from the wreck, including fragments of shoes, pottery, glass bottle, carpenter's tools, a tin teaspoon scoop and fragments of clay pipes. A large part of the wreck is sunk in the bottom, with visible parts of the sides reaching to the height of the deck. The keel is more than 2.5 meters below the sea floor.

"We used SfM (Structure from Motion) software to develop and implement an innovative method of photogrammetric 3D documentation of wrecks on the bottom of the Baltic Sea - said Bednarz. - The program uses appropriate algorithms to generate a 3D model from 2D images, recognizing the relative position in space of individual elements visible in the pictures" - he added.

Gdansk 1

The wreck in June 2014. Photo: NMM

According to the authors of the models, they are not only visually appealing, but also constitute a flexible and precise measurement tool for underwater archaeology. Importantly for archaeologists, the method allows to document wrecks also in conditions of very poor visibility under water, even reduced to less than one meter.


View from the stern. Photo: NMM

In the coming years, in the project "Bay of Gdańsk Virtual Shipwreck Park" the NMM underwater archaeologists plan to create 3D archaeological documentation of all the wooden wrecks resting at the bottom of the Bay of Gdańsk. This summer work will begin on the next four vessels. These will include: wreck of the seventeenth-century warship "Solen" and the nineteenth-century barque "Loreley".