Unique 1300-year-old river ship found in France

(ORDO NEWS) — Experts from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) have unearthed a well-preserved wreck of a ship built in the 7th or 8th century AD.

A brief report on the discovery is published on the Inrap website. The ship was found near the city of Bordeaux in southwestern France.

It was under the bed of a silted stream. Archaeologists believe that it was a river boat. Probably, the ship sailed along the Garonne River in the 7th-8th centuries AD.

Experts note a good degree of safety of the vessel, taking into account its venerable age. This was facilitated by the natural environment – river bottom silt actually mothballed the ship and preserved organic materials for us. Not only the wood has been preserved, but also some braided ropes.

Archaeologists say the found ship is unique in many ways. Moreover, in written sources there is practically no information about the navigation methods of that period. Therefore, the ship found is the first archaeological evidence of the navy of early medieval France.

The length of the preserved part of the ship is about 12 meters. But its original length, according to experts, was 15 meters.

The rigging and dimensions indicate that it was a cargo ship. It was not intended for a long voyage across the sea. It was a ship built of oak and coniferous trees specifically for coastal navigation.

It has not yet been possible to determine exactly when this ship sank or was abandoned. In written sources, the stream, at the bottom of which the ship was found, was first mentioned only in the 18th century.

But at that time it was already shallow and unnavigable. By the way, scientists are planning to document literally every fragment of the ship, in order to build its virtual model later.


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