HomeFoodDiver Opens 340-Year-Old Jar, Has No Idea What He Released

Diver Opens 340-Year-Old Jar, Has No Idea What He Released


When the Kronan, a Swedish naval cruiser, was finished in 1672, it was evident that it was the crowning achievement of the Swedish naval fleet.

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But only four years later, it sank, nearly killing the whole crew of 800. It sat on the ocean floor for many years before vanishing beneath the waves and ultimately from history.

Unearthing The Past

It was only in 1980 that the remains of the Kronan were rediscovered. Thereafter, many different expeditions went down into the deep to explore the wreck, and many valuable and historically significant artifacts were recovered. 

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However, it was the most recent dive that yielded the most unexpected and remarkable discovery of them all. 

The Kronan

Taking seven long years to construct, the Kronan was a multi-masted behemoth and a force to be reckoned with. And it finally set out to sea in 1672. 


Its impressive appearance intimidated just about every other ship it came across. But nobody anticipated that the sea itself would prove to be its most formidable enemy. 

A Sharp Turn

The Kronan’s luck ran out one fateful day in 1676. During a maritime battle, it capsized while making a sharp turn on rough waters. But that wasn’t the final nail in the majestic ship’s coffin. 


In an unlucky turn of events, the gunpowder that was stored below deck ignited, causing a massive explosion. The ship sank to the bottom of the sea, taking almost all of its crew along with it.

Final Resting Place

The Kronan lay quietly on the ocean floor for three hundred years and was forgotten, its skeleton becoming home to many sea creatures and other aquatic life. 


But inside, it still harbored valuables and treasure. Hidden deep beneath the Baltic, it seemed unlikely that anyone would ever find it and recover the artifacts in its hull. 

Pure Luck

In 1980, and by a sheer stroke of dumb luck, amateur researcher Anders Franzen stumbled upon the enormous wreck.


 After the Kronan was rediscovered, the Swedish government took it upon themselves to sponsor archeological dives every year, hoping to recover the artifacts that still lay within. Nobody could believe what divers eventually hauled up off the ocean floor.

A Ship Of War

Divers exploring the massive ship’s remains were immediately overcome with fear and awe. The wreck’s sides bristled with dozens of rusted cannons, which made it abundantly clear that the ship was a formidable instrument of war. 


That was  before it met its untimely end. But the silent, fallen juggernaut was still concealing many more secrets inside.

The Interior

The divers moved inside the ship’s gigantic skeletal hull and swam through dozens of rooms that once housed the ship’s crew, now eerily devoid of human life. 


Among shoals of shiny fish that called the Kronan home, they discovered caches upon caches of weapons — leaving no room for anyone to doubt that this ship was an unstoppable force in its day.   

Operation Cleanup

After their exploration was complete, the divers set to work. They used specialized equipment to remove the algae and silt that had layered and caked over and inside the ship for three centuries. 


They painstakingly cleaned every rusted surface and every nook and cranny. But no-one was expecting to uncover an unbelievable treasure trove.


The priceless artifacts that the divers reclaimed from the wreck of the Kronan were to be sent straight to the Kalmar County Museum in Sweden. As the items began to emerge, the museum began to prepare an entire Kronan exhibit to house them. 


They were almost ready to unveil the artifacts to the public — they just needed to be sure that everything that was hidden in the ship’s hull had been excavated.    

Antique Weaponry

Among the first artifacts that were reclaimed from the Kronan were rifles and firearms from the 17th century. The value of such rare items alone made this an extraordinary discovery. 


But, aside from the antiques’ intrinsic value, they offered new insights into 17th-century warfare and armaments that even surprised and amazed experts in the field.  


Once recovered and inspected, the weapons were carefully polished and restored to their former glory so that they would look like new when they went on display at the museum. 


However, as historically significant as these firearms were, they were far from the most fascinating items that were found on the wreck of the Kronan…

Everyday Life

Many of the items that the divers excavated were far simpler in nature. But these items provided fascinating and previously unknown insights into what everyday life was like in the 1600s. 


These historical artifacts included musical instruments such as trumpets and violins, which were thought to be used to create entertainment while the crew was out at sea. 

A Gold Ring

During one expedition, the divers found a ring that was made from pure gold. It was in pristine condition and sparkled as brightly as the day it was made, even after lying at the bottom of the ocean for three hundred years. 


It looked out of place amongst the other rusted artifacts, so much so that it could have been placed there by accident. But the most interesting find was still to come.


In probably the most exciting haul from the wreck, a load of gold and silver coins that the Kronan had been carrying when it capsized was found. 


The divers’ eyes widened when they saw that they not only comprised coins from Sweden, but also from as far afield as Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. Indeed, it was the biggest coin collection ever discovered in Swedish history!

Putting A Name To The Ship

By far the most important find from the Kronan’s wreck was a wooden plaque with the ship’s name engraved on it. Although it may not have as much monetary value as the gold and silver coins and firearms, it was just as significant. 


The Kalmar County Museum was thrilled to put all the lost treasure on display. But there was still one more item waiting to be discovered.

More To Find

Most divers would have been happy enough with what they’d found and left it at that. But this crew knew it would be a shame if they left even one treasure unearthed. That’s why despite already finding such incredible things, they kept looking.


The crew would be glad they did once they figured out the wreck had more to hide. But it wouldn’t be at all what they expected.

Emptying Everything

The divers were quick to try and empty out everything that was inside the shipwreck. They opened antique barrels and crates but only found waterlogged bottles and empty spaces where they assumed fruit or other organic products used to be.


It seemed that all of the treasure was behind them, but that wouldn’t stop them from trying. There was one more “treasure” waiting for them.

Checking Elsewhere

The divers had now searched every container inside the broken vessel. But that wasn’t enough. They wanted to look even more. They had a funny feeling that something else was on the ship.

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It would be something one-of-a-kind, but whether or not that was a good thing would be up to the eye of the beholder.

A Loose Plank

Just as they thought they would give up hope, one of the divers noticed that one of the planks in the hull was loose. He decided to take a closer interest in it and tried slowly prying it open.

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An important thing to note is that divers don’t like tampering with wrecks and damaging them. If the plank moved without him having to break it, then he would be allowed to look inside.

The Mysterious Jar

It happened just when the divers thought that they had unearthed everything of importance and had uncovered all of the Kronan’s secrets. One of the researchers came across a black jar, buried deep in the mud. 


It was made of tin and was surprisingly heavy when he lifted it out. Was it another hoard of gold coins, perhaps?

Taking It Back With Them

The crew decided to take the jar back with them. They couldn’t open it while underwater for fear of it destroying the contents sealed within. With all of the valuables picked from the wreck, they called it a day.


The crew loaded everything onto their ship and headed back to solid ground. There, they could examine what they’d found.

Couldn’t Pry It Open

Once they had everything unpacked from the boat, they decided to check what was inside the tin. The divers gathered around as they tried turning the lid. But to their surprise, it was stuck.


It wasn’t too surprising that the time underwater had sealed the tin jar shut. They needed to be careful not to damage to contents, but they had to open it one way or another.

Loosening The Lid

The men got to work finding ways to loosen the lid. After jimmying it with all sorts of delicate tools, it felt like they were making progress. It wouldn’t be long now until they found out what was hidden inside.


After loosening the lid, a strange smell poured into the room. The divers quickly tightened in fear of unleashing something long forgotten back into the world.

Finding An Expert

They didn’t want to mess around with things that they didn’t know about, so they decided to search for someone who did. They did their research and found an institute that might be able to help them.


They called them to see if they could arrange an appointment. Scientists were always keen on looking into mysterious things, right?

Happy To Accommodate

The institute was happy to accommodate the divers’ requests. They were interested in objects like the one they had and seemed just as curious as they were. 


The divers took the jar to the research facility and met some of the faculty there. They exchanged pleasantries before getting to the work at hand.

Pungent Aroma

A Scientist carefully worked at the lid. The top came off and the contents met the light of day for the first time in three hundred and forty years. Everyone leaned in and almost immediately regretted it. A few more jumped back and gagged. 


Staring at the greyish substance in the jar, they were all floored when it suddenly hit them. It was some sort of preserved cheese product!

Distinct Aroma

They described the smell as a mix of yeast and Roquefort cheese. During the era when the Kronan was built, cheese was a real status symbol. 


It was something that you wouldn’t see just anyone having in their day to day lives. It separated the rich from the poor. In this case, however, the cheese was well past its prime.

A Treasure To Them

Now the men at least knew what was hiding in their mysterious jar. Although not worth much today, they had plenty of other treasure that they could sell if need be.


The divers just loved the thrill of finding strange artifacts, and this definitely qualifies as treasure in their books. But what would they do with the three hundred and fifty year old cheese?

Almost Palatable

No one intended to add this Kronan cheese to a gourmet cheese plate anytime soon, but just the fact it was still in relatively good condition stunned everyone. It’s something that no one could have expected to happen in a million years! Where’s Andrew Zimmern when you need him? He’d probably give this a taste!


In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.


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