A dozen centuries-old shipwrecks — some of them unusually well-preserved — have been found in the Baltic Sea by a gas company building an underwater pipeline between Russia and Germany.
The oldest wreck probably dates back to medieval times and could be up to 800 years old, while the others are likely from the 17th to 19th centuries, Peter Norman of Sweden's National Heritage Board said Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.
Workers on an underwater pipeline in the Baltic Sea has discovered a dozen previously uncharted shipwrecks - some of them 1,000 years old.
"We have manage to identify 12 shipwrecks, and nine of them are considered to be fairly old," said Peter Norman, a senior advisor with Sweden's Heritage Board which made the announcement this week.
"We think many of the ships are from the 17th and 18th centuries and we think some could even be from the Middle Ages," he added. "This discovery offers enormous culture-historical value," Telegraph.co.uk reports.
The Baltic Sea has been called an "archaeological paradise" because its waters contain so little salt that they don't attract the hull-eating worms that destroy shipwrecks. The sea is also shallow and easier to explore than other bodies of water.
In February, Robert Ballard, the U.S. marine scientist who discovered the Titanic, told CBS News that scientists recognize "the discovery potential of the Baltic given its unique characteristics for preservation of ancient wooden ships."
The 12 ships found by Nord Stream are largely intact, though it's not clear yet whether they will be brought to the surface or restored, AOL News reports.