Book "S:t Mikael" 1747 tells the fascinating story of the shipwrecked three-masted galliot

Entangled fishing net revealed a national treasureThe fascinating story of the wreck of the St Mikael, which is protected by the Protection of Antiquities Act, and of items recovered from the wreck has now been compiled into a reference and picture book of more than 300 pages. The book represents maritime history, cultural history and history of everyday life, taking the reader 250 years back in time. Timo Toivonen, President of Fingrid Oyj which published the book, summarises the goal of the book as follows: “The book reminds all us Finns of the importance of cherishing our national legacy”.
The wreck of the three-masted galliot St Mikael, which sank in the southern archipelago of Nauvo in the late autumn of 1747, was discovered by accident in conjunction with net fishing more than two centuries years later. Diving and archival research identified the ship as the St Mikael, which had sailed under the Russian flag. Some 600 different items or parts of items as well as dozens of samples have been recovered from the wreck to the collections of the National Board of Antiquities.

The book “S:t Mikael 1747” introduces the reader to the world of the 18th century. The methods and opportunities of modern science and research technology overlap the research subject and its phenomena with the present day. The wreck and its items constitute a national treasure which does not only belong to researchers’ chambers. For this reason, the text and photographs of the book aim to guide the reader into the world that Finland and the rest of the world were living in when the shipwreck took place.

The vessel sailing from Amsterdam to St Petersburg had no black box that could tell us what happened in late autumn in 1747. In fact, very little is known of the last voyage of the St Mikael, and this fact is also brought up clearly in the book. The hypotheses concerning the progress of events are based on archival information and general knowledge of the world of those days and of its culture, trade policy, shipping, geopolitics, and procedures in general. The events might have progressed as described in the book.

All items recovered from the wreck make up the treasure, not only the luxurious ones – such as Meissen porcelain and golden snuff boxes and watches, which were probably destined for the nobility in St Petersburg, maybe even for the Imperial court. The photographs of the book highlight the value of all items of the wreck. Even though partly damaged by the past centuries and sea water, details of everyday objects used by the common people have also deserved photographs in the book. A good example of the illustrative approach of the book is that a full double page contains a photograph of the moss used as filling material in the packing of the porcela

The book has been put together by an impressive host of experts. The editor and compiler of the book is Anna Nurmio-Lahdenmäki, B.A. and archaeological research diving instructor, who served as the responsible researcher in the field investigations of the St Mikael. The expert articles have been written by Christian Ahlström, Ph.D. and archival researcher, Elina Anttila , Ph.D. and art historian, Raimo Fagerström, M.Sc. and researcher, and Jari Ojala, Ph.D. and historian. The layout of the book has been designed by Helena Hökkä , architect and graphic artist. The photographic material includes Finnish and foreign archival material as well as material photographed specifically for the book. The items have been photographed by Matti Huuhka, who is specialised in item and documentary photography and art photography.

The book “S:t Mikael 1747” is currently available at Akateeminen kirjakauppa in Helsinki. The book will also be sold later in the shops of major museums in Finland, for instance. The price of the book is 60 euros (incl. VAT.

Quote from the foreword of Timo Toivonen, President of Fingrid Oyj which published the book:

"The Finnish national heritage contains a wide variety of issues from art to technology. These have come about as a result of the efforts of several generations. We have the right to use this heritage for our common good, but we also have an obligation to preserve and amass the heritage for posterity.”

Further information:
Leni Lustre-Pere 030 395 5142, 0400 438 604