An excavation led by Brendan Foley, an archaeological scientist at Lund University in Sweden has discovered a “unique” cache of well-preserved spices, from strands of saffron to peppercorns and ginger on the royal wreck, Gribshund, owned by King Hans of Denmark and Norway which sank off Sweden’s Baltic coast more than 500 years ago.
“The Baltic is strange – it’s low oxygen, low temperature, low salinity, so many organic things are well preserved in the Baltic where they wouldn’t be well preserved elsewhere in the world ocean system,” said Foley. “But to find spices like this is quite extraordinary.”
The spices would have been a symbol of high status, as only the wealthy could afford goods such as saffron or cloves that were imported from outside Europe, citing Tuoitre News.
Lund University researcher Mikael Larsson, who has been studying the finds, said: “This is the only archaeological context where we’ve found saffron. So it’s very unique and it’s very special.”