Several children died when the royal ship Kronan sank

Published 14 February 2021 at 09.01

When Kronan perished in the battle against the combined Danish-Dutch fleet in the summer of 1676, she had a crew of about 500 men and 350 infantry soldiers on board. Only about 40 survived.

Since the wreck was discovered in 1980, more than 20,000 objects have been salvaged, among them thousands of skeletal parts. Together, the findings form, according to the researchers, an extensive source material for knowledge about life on board.

New studies of skeletal parts preserved at Stockholm University show that they came from four children aged four to ten years, significantly younger than the twelve-year-old previously thought to be the youngest on board. The study is published in the journal Fornvännen.

– We can not know for sure why you had such young children on board during a battle. A ten-year-old could possibly be a very young ship’s boy, but the others seem too small to be recruited by the navy. Our best guess is that they were rather children of crew members, says Sebastian Wärmländer, researcher at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Stockholm University, in a mailing.

Of the four children whose skeletal parts have been analyzed, two are judged to be between four and six years old, one between six and eight and one between eight and ten.

Source: Fria Tider by

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