See this text in:
The Fiumicino 5 wreck was found in 1959 during work on Leonardo
airport at Fiumicino (Rome) on the site of the ancient harbour
basin built in
42 AD by the emperor Claudius.
The hull was salvaged in 1961 and, after conservation with a
mixture of resins, was exhibited in 1979 in the Museum of the Roman Ships.Fiumicino 5 is a fishing boat, the only one of this kind known
times. The hull is preserved up to the topsides for a length of 5,20.
maximum width conserved is 1,50 m while the maximum height at
The hull remains
The keel, replaced in modern times, is joined with two hook scarfs
to the stern-and-stemgripes. Other scarfs are present to join
these elements to the stem-and-sternposts (not preserved).
The stern-and-stemgripes are rectangular in section with rabbets
the garboards and the end of the other planks. The connection
is made with
copper nails and treenails.
The boat is single-planked and carvel built. It is formed by 6
strakes on the
port side and 7 on the starboard side.
The garboards, constituted by a single plank, are 14 cm wide and
2 cm thick. These elements are joined to the middle body of the
keel by pegged tenons.
The other planks have different widths (between a low of 7,5 and
a high of 22
cm), while the thickness is around 1,8/2,3 cm. The stakes are
mortise-and-tenon joints. The average spacing between dowels fastening
tenons is 27,7 cm. The tenons are smaller than the mortises into
are inserted (6 cm wide and 0,5/0,6 cm thick) and both mortises
The planks are extended with Z-scarfs.
Inside, the hull has 18 frames connected to the planking by treenails
(diameter 0,9/1 cm). Alternation between floor timbers and half-frame
not respected. The distance between frames measures on average
The fish well
Fiumicino 5 is characterised by a well positioned in the middle
body of the boat.
This is an aquarium-container which was used to keep fish fresh
sale of the catch.
The fishing well, troncopyramidal in shape with a squared base
(1 m x 1m), is
a box made of very thick planks (5 cm) assembled with mortise-and-tenon
joints. The corners are stiffened with iron nails. The bottom
elements are shaped with the curvature of the hull and are
fastened to the planking by copper nails driven in from the outside.
elements have angular recesses for a wooden lid (not preserved).
of the well has 19 holes (diameter 2,5/3 cm), some with wooden
fill it with fresh sea water.
Types of wood
Because of the resin treatments, the dryness and the hardness of wood, it is possible
to glean only general information regarding the species of wood used in the structure
of the ship. The stern-and-stemgripe are made of oak (Quercus sp.), the
planking of cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), spruce (Picea sp.)
and stone pine (Pinus pinea) while the frame is of juniperus (Juniperus),
stone pine (Pinus pinea), cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) and oak
(Quercus sp.). One tenon is made of holm (Quercus ilex) while a
peg is made of cypress. The olive tree (Olea europaea) was used to connect
frame to planking. The fish well was made of stone pine, cypress, oak and elm
(Ulmus sp.) .
Interpretation of the hull remains
The dating of this vessel is still uncertain. The result of C14
imprecise (92 BC/8 AD) and different if compared with the date
implied by the
associated material (II cent. AD).
The construction principle of Fiumicino 5 is shell-first because
homogeneity of the mortise-and-tenon joints, the weakness of the
the absence of connection between these and the keel.
Finally, the boat was propelled by oars.