The Maasilinn ship, built about 1560 is one of the oldest wrecks ever found in Estonian waters. The illustration depicted on the stamp shows a reconstruction of what the ship may have looked like.
On the large Estonian island Saaremaa, the German Order erected the Soneburg castle in 1345. Later this became Danish territory. In 1576 it was time for the Swedes to invade the island. Facing a superior Swedish attack, the Danish commander had the castle blown up, before retreating. The impressive ruins can nowdays be visited.
In 1985 the castle's old harbour was investigated by the Estonian Maritime Museum. In the waters 200 m off the castle, a 16th century shipwreck was found. At the time of sinking the water depth was around 4,5 m, but as a result of landrise the wrecksite is on 3 m depth. Because of the shallow depth only the lower parts remain. The upper parts may have been smashed by water or ice movements. Loose timbers may also have been salvaged and re-used for house building etc.
The investigations were made by Bruno Pao, Dr Jüri Selirand, Vello Mäss, and members of "Viikar", the museum's underwater archaeology society.
The wreck was salvaged in 1987. The hull has been conserved with PEG and minor objects with freeze-drying. Using dendrochronology, the ship has been dated to about 1568.
The surviving part of the wreck measuring about 10 m by 5.5 m. She is the only known example of a locally built ship from the Middle Ages. Three distinct peculiarities set it apart from any other ships of the period: double outer planking, a double mortise and tenon connection of the stem and the keel, and an original keel construction. The conserved wreck is kept at the Orissaare Yacht Club, and can be seen by arrangement with the Estonian Maritime Museum.
Estonia 1997, S.G.?, Scott: 323a.
Lithuania 1997, S.G.?, Scott: 572b.
Latvia 1997, S.G.?, Scott: 444c.
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