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When were the color pigments retrieved?

Dear Vasa Staff,

I've been following up the Vasa's conservation issues for many years and I'm now writing an article on archaeological conservation. I would very much like to include the information that, many years ago, original pigment was found inside the wood, thus being possible to apply colours  to the ship's model. My question is during which process these pigments where discovered for the first time. Was it during conservation procedure? Was it a conservator that noticed it first?
Thank You for your kind attention,


  • Hi Vanessa,
    Paint and gilding were noticed on many of the sculptures when they were first recovered during the salvage work in 1956-1961, and one famous bit of painting, a life-size image of a king,was seen on the foremast by divers before the mast was recovered. Samples were taken as objects were recovered, but these proved difficult to analyze. A separate project in the 1990s, led by Peter Tångeberg (a conservator), collected samples of paint and gilding and subjected them to chemical analysis in order to identify the pigments. We have continued this work in our recent documentation of the interior panelling and furniture from the cabins, and it has been one of staff conservators, Emma Hocker, who has carried out the work of cleaning and sampling surfaces.

    With best regards,
    Fred Research Director, Ship Unit, Ph.D.

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