A ship cemetery is a place in the coastal or fluvial landscape, where vessels are intentionally disposed off that are either too old to be savely operated, or beyond repair. Usually, parts of the wrecks above the water-line are salvaged, scrapped and re-used, thus ship cemeteries are often found in close proximity to shipyards, where some of the retrieved parts could be re-used. In contrast to a ship trap the vessels were not disposed as an underwater obstacle.
Archaeologically, ship cemetaries in the Baltic Sea are known from the Middle Ages onwards. The world largest historical ship cemetery is in Mallow's Bay in the Potomac River in the US states Maryland and Virginia, with remnants of more than 100 World War I era wooden steamships.
- H. Åkerlund 1951, Fartygsfynden i den Forna Hamnen i Kalmar (Uppsala 1951)