This Roman ship was discovered in 1910 on the site of the County
Hall, on the south bank of the River Thames opposite Westminster,
London, England. The ship had been abandoned at the edge of the
The construction of the ship is dated to about 300 AD by dendrochronology,
and its loss soon after by associated pottery and coins.
Only part of the ship, from the centre towards one end, had survived,
and the remains measured about 13m long and 5.5m wide. The hull
comprised the bottom and part of one collapsed side. The ship
was carvel built entirely of oak, and with mortice-and-tenon joints
holding the planks edge-to-edge. This is typical of the Mediterranean
method of Roman shipbuilding and contrasts with the Romano-Celtic
method then in general use in central and north-western Europe.
The dendrochronology, however, shows that the ship had been built
The ship had a keel to which the strakes were attached. The frames
were fastened to the strakes by oak treenails. The bottom of the
hull had more frames than had the sides, and the side survived
in a collapsed form to an original height of 1.55m, just above
which was probably the gunwale. A wale existed at a height of
1.3m above the bottom frames, and it held the ends of deck beams.
A longitudinal stringer, one of a pair originally, attached to
the top of the frames on the bottom of the ship, had mortice holes
presumably for the stanchions that once supported the deck near
the centre of the vessel.
The ship was originally preserved in the London Museum, but did
not survive intact. Some timbers of the ship are now preserved
at the Shipwreck Heritage Centre, Hastings, and at the Museum
of London, England.
Peter Marsden, Ships of the Port of London: first to eleventh
centuries AD. 1994, English Heritage Archaeological Report