During the end of the 17th century, a cargo ship loaded with tar and iron was on its way back to Holland. Customs duties were to be paid at Dalarö, but instead the ship sank off the island of Jutholmen. And so the newly discovered wreck in the 1960s got its name. After that, the Maritime Museum conducted archaeological investigations and salvaged gold rings, fine buttons made of brass, objects decorated with amber, and precious porcelain with a Chinese design.
During 1970–74, the Maritime Museum conducted one of their biggest shipwreck surveys ever of a wreck at the tiny island of Jutholmen, just outside Dalarö.
In the spring of 1965, when 95-year-old Dalarö resident Oscar Ekblom recalled that in his youth he had heard about a ship collision in the fairway next to Jutholmen, just outside Dalarö, it immediately sparked the interest of a group of divers. The group soon got hold of some boats and scuba gear, and set off on their search. They began searching near the small lighthouse on Jutholmen, and met with success after just three soundings. There were traces of black oak on the lead line when it was brought up to the surface.
The divers quickly put on their gear and slid down into the dark waters. When they resurfaced, they announced that they found a wreck a few tens of metres away from the lighthouse. Several more dives followed this first one and many objects were salvaged, including coins that could be dated to 1660–85.
A first inspection
The group reported their discovery to the Maritime Museum, which inspected the site in July 1966 and found that it was
a carvel-built rounded ship about 25 metres long, 5.5 metres wide and built in oak. The museum divers could also confirm that the hull was fragile, especially in the aft section.
The Maritime Museum’s 1970–74 investigations involved carefully measuring the wreck, and nearly the entire interior of the hull was laid bare. A great many finds and ship artefacts were discovered, and then salvaged, documented and eventually preserved.
The hull, which has a squared-off bow and a rounded stern, is flat-bottomed and has hull sides that rise about 5–6 metres above the seabed. The ship originally had three masts, and part of the foremast’s lower mast is preserved.
However, it is broken and heavily leans towards the bow. Part of the bowsprit has also been preserved. The bowsprit was fastened to a recess in the stem and appears to be sawn off, probably as a result of the salvage operation.
Armed with the investigation results, the Finnish historian Christian Ahlström made an attempt to identify the ship in 1974. He based his attempt on three key facts: the vessel had sunk in 1700 or soon thereafter; the cargo consisted of iron and tar but objects of foreign provenance were also on board; and the cargo had been salvaged relatively soon after the sinking. Ahlström found information in the archives that mentioned a merchant from Stockholm, Johan Lohe, who in 1700 had been involved in a diving operation in Dalarö. Lohe had hired a diver to salvage a ship he co-owned that had sunk at Dalarö.
After he reviewed the archives, Ahlström concluded that the sunken vessel outside Jutholmen could be the Dutch ship De Vrede from Amsterdam. The ship, loaded mainly with bar iron and iron pieces, had sunk at Dalarö in September 1700 en route to Amsterdam. Curiously, the identification proposal has not had any impact, which is why the wreck at Jutholmen is still considered unidentified.