Ancient ship's 'sea monster' head raised from Baltic Sea

Ship lost for almost 500 years

Raw: Ancient Ship Carving Found in Baltic Sea
A figurehead from a 15th century ship has been raised to the surface of the Baltic Sea near Ronneby, Sweden - more than 500 years after it sank.

Divers surfaced with the wooden sea monster on Tuesday. The Gribshunden is thought to be the world's best-preserved late medieval ship, the BBC reports.

"It's a sea monster - and we have to discuss what kind of animal it is," said Johan Ronnby, professor of marine archaeology at Sodertorn University.

"I think it's some kind of fantasy animal - a dragon with lion ears and crocodile-like mouth. There seems to be a person in its mouth and he's eating somebody."

Ship dates back to the days of Leonardo da Vinci

The Gribshunden is believed to have sunk in 1495 after it caught fire on its way from Copenhagen to Kalmar on Sweden's east coast.

Researchers are hoping to bring more of the wreck to the surface in the future. They said the hulk is well preserved because sea worms do not like the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea.

"Last time it looked at the world, Leonardo da Vinci and Christopher Columbus were still living," Ronnby added.

"I'm amazed, we knew that it should be a fantastic figure, but it was over our expectations when we saw it. It's a fantastic figure, unique in the world.

"I think there are going to be more excavations around here and we're going to find some more unique objects. But this ... today is just fantastic."