When a new pipeline was going to be built, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology was contracted to ensure that the pipeline would not damage cultural heritage under water. A detailed survey was carried out and several shipwrecks were discovered. One, an 18th century sailing vessel was discovered in the pipeline track where the pipe could not be re-routed. As a result, the shipwreck had to be excavated before the pipeline could be installed. Since the shipwreck was in 170 meters depth, this had to be done entirely by robotic systems, making this the first and only deepwater marine archaeology excavation project.

Telemark Canal

The Telemark Canal connects the towns Skien, Notodden and Dalen in southern Norway by linking several long lakes through a series of 18 locks with a total elevation of 72 meters. The first sections of the 105 km long canal opened in 1861, and by the time the canal was finished in 1892, it was considered “the eighth wonder” of the world. In the past few years, a detailed mapping of the canal has been carried out, revealing more than 100 shipwrecks!

Hitler’s Sunken Secret

During World War II, the sinking of the Norwegian ferry Hydro in 1944 was a pivotal covert operation. Allegedly carrying heavy water for the Nazis’ atomic bomb project, its true cargo remained a mystery. ProMare, NOVA, and Sperre AS collaborated to explore Lake Tinn’s depths, discovering the well-preserved ship and evidence of mysterious cargo. Analysis confirmed it was heavy water, shedding light on the Allies’ efforts to thwart the Nazi nuclear program. Despite attempts to sabotage German heavy water production, including a famous raid on Vemork, the ultimate destruction of the Hydro ensured the prevention of Nazi nuclear ambitions.

Viking Seas

ProMare, in collaboration with the Norwegian Maritime Museum, has been surveying parts of the Norwegian coast for submerged Viking ships. In 2012, a tip led to the discovery of Norway’s oldest known shipwreck, dating back to around 1000 AD. Likely a trading vessel loaded with grinding stones, it’s the sole Viking age ship found underwater in Norway. A detailed mapping in 2019, featured on National Geographic’s “Drain the Oceans – Vikings Seas,” preceded a comprehensive pre-disturbance survey in 2020. Extensive excavation in 2021 revealed reindeer antler and wooden remnants, confirming the ship’s age and significance as a rare Viking find in Norway.