The F53.6 SOLEN (W-6) wreck constitutes the remains of a Swedish ship “Solen” (the Sun) which sank on 28 November 1627 during the Battle of Oliwa. She was a galleon of over 30 meters in length, with a deadweight of ca 150 lasts, built with employment of a carvel technique (staves of planking fastened edge to edge) from oak wood.
In the Battle of Oliwa, the Swedish squadron clashed with the royal fleet of Sigismund III, consisting of 10 warships. In the course of the battle, Solen was attacked by Wodnik galleon and Biały Lew fluit. To avoid a boarding, the Swedes blew Solen up by detonating the gunpowder chamber. As the result of the battle, the Polish royal fleet took over the Swedish vessel Tigeren and the remaining Swedish vessels escaped, which in turn ended the blockade of Gdańsk.
The wreck was discovered on 20 October 1969 by Polskie Ratownictwo Okrętowe [Polish Vessel Rescue Service].
The wreck is located ca 3.5 nautical miles to the east of Gdynia Redłowo, at a depth of 15 metres(the present location).
Archaeological works were conducted on the wreck in 1970 – 1980, with a break between 1972 and 1973, when the PMM archaeologists were focused on the research works conducted on the W-5 Copper Ship wreck. In 1980, a thoroughly studied wooden structure of the wreck was raised from the seabed and transported to the safest area in the Gulf of Gdańsk, near Gdynia Orłowo (the present location of the object is displayed by the 3D model).
The trees used for construction of the ship were cut down after 1591, which indicates that the vessel (the W-6 wreck) was built not earlier than after this year.
Together with other 8 vessels, Solen was purchased in the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands for the Swedish Navy by Anton Monier. Upon completion of reconstruction (repair) works, she was taken into service in 1624. The remaining vessels included galleons Christina, Manen, Pelikanem, Regntagen, Tigern and Enhorningen, and pinnaces Regnier and Papegojan. Six of these vessels participated in the Battle of Oliwa as a part of the Swedish squadron.
In total, 6 thousand artefacts were recovered from the wreck. A collection of 20 bronze cannons – 16 of which were manufactured in Sweden, two cannons were brought from Poland and the remaining two, with inscriptions in Cyrillic, came from Ruthenia or Eastern Poland – was the most valuable discovery. The oldest cannon dates back to 1560, while the newest one was cast after 1611. Among others, a collection of silver coins and square copper coins, 1262 in total, was recovered from the wreck. Dates on the coins cover the period from 1591 to 1627.
Koczorowski E., Bitwa pod Oliwą, Gdynia 1968.
Koperkiewicz A., Solen, Gdańsk 1986.
Smolarek P., Wreck W-6: a preliminary report, Fasciculi Archaeologiae Historicae, Fasciculus IV,1990, s. 47 - 86.
Bednarz T., Okręt szwedzki Solen w świetle źródeł archeologicznych, praca magisterska, UMK, Toruń 2000.
Bednarz T., „De Jonge Seerp”. Badania historyczno - archeologiczne niderlandzkiego statku z końca XVIII wieku, Gdańsk 2015, s. 23 - 25.
The "Gulf of Gdańsk Shipwreck Virtual Open-Air Museum" website (www.wsw.nmm.pl) has been created under the "Gulf of Gdańsk Shipwreck Virtual Open-Air Museum. Recording and Inventory of Underwater Archaeological Heritage" scientific research project, co-financed with the funds from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.