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Arts & Culture

NOVA: Ship That Changed The World

Illustration of the Gribshunden at sea.
© 2021 WGBH Educational Foundation
Illustration of the Gribshunden at sea.

Stream or tune in Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, June 3 at 4 p.m. & Sunday, June 6 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2

Some five centuries ago, a major revolution overturned traditional ship designs. In just a few years, ships were transformed from small coastal-bound transports into massive ocean-going vessels capable of long-distance exploration.

These designs were crucial to launching Europe’s age of imperial expansion and colonial exploitation, toppling the indigenous civilizations of the New World and spreading pandemics.

But how did this momentous innovation in ship design happen? Few wrecks from this era have survived, leaving behind only rough drawings and incomplete records. Now the wreck of one of these transitional designs, built around the same time as Columbus’ trio of ships, has finally been found off the coast of Sweden.


Dive with NOVA as underwater archaeologists investigate the engineering secrets hidden in the extraordinarily well-preserved wreck of a super-ship that helped create the modern world.

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This episode will be available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast, for a limited time.

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