Szczecin

 

Archaeological excavations carried out in 1962 uncovered a shipwreck located near the medieval castle of the Pomeranian counts in Szczecin.
It comes from the beginning of the 9th century. The boat, 8,25 m long and 2.1 m wide consisted of seven ribs, 5 strakes and keel of 6,2 m length and max. 32 cm width. The keel cut from a half log, with a rounded cross-section, is noticeable.
The sternpost and the stem, which did not survive, were attached to a robust keel-plank through vertical flat scarfs. The scarfs were secured with iron nails. Four oaken strakes were preserved on either side of the keel. The planks averaged about 20-30 cm in width and 1,5-2 cm in thickness. The strakes were made out of either a single plank or two overlapped planks with the scarf secured by two iron nails. Moss was used as luting material for the hull seams, and animal hair was used for caulking repair patches. The strakes were joined in the lapstrake manner and secured with pine treenails.
Two different kinds of framing were observed in this shipwreck: a floor timber with a naturally-curved end and a futtock added to the straight end, and floor timbers/ribs made out of a single piece of wood. Only one beam, with a naturally- curved end, was found with the shipwreck remains.
Due to lack of evidence we cannot say anything of methods of propulsion. Most probably these vessels were oared. On the partly recovered gunwale planks of the Szczecin boat the are no traces of thwarts pr oar ports. The short oars or paddles were probably used as steering devices if the boat was used for fishing during its last years of use. This vessel has numerous traces of repair work. Its strakes were joined by treenails and caulked with moss. The oblique plank scarves were strengthened with iron nails and the keel-stem/stern scarf had been reinforced the same way.
The boat from Szczecin and timbers from Wolin show that by the turn of the 9th century a type of local planked vessel had been developed at the mouth of the Odra. This vessel obviously was full form with a huge rounded half-log keel and a max. draught of 55 cm. It was adapted to the lagoons, the rivers, the bars, and to general sailing conditions in the area, and possible to haul ashore in any beach by means of simple winches. In certain respects, and especially as for the keel, it gives further evidence in the quest for a connection between logboat and planked boat in this region.

W. Ossowski