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The design of the antique barge resulted in a low draught and the largest possible water displacement, which was ideal for the transportation of heavy loads like stone blocks and construction material.

The flat floor was of oak planks, as were the steep side walls which were fastened with iron clamps. The flat keel was carved out of a single oak trunk. The ribs were nailed to the keel and projected alternatively up to the edge. The ships walls were up to 1m high.

The slightly raised bow enabled the barge to dock at flatter shores and with its slim form the barge could maneuver through the unregulated rivers. The pram was powered with a sail or paddles and steered with a large rudder. It could also be towed against the current.

Wrecks that were found in Mainz (Mainz 6) and Zammerdam (NL) provided the basis for the antique model barge construction.

Mainz 6 (type "Zwammerdam"): 40m long, c. 5m wide, found 1982 in Mainz (Holzstraße/Kappelhofgasse); the dendrochronological examination revealed that the oak was felled in the spring of 81 AD. A 1:10 model can be seen in the Museum für Antike Schifffahrt, Mainz.

Steidl 2005, 127.


Museum für Antike Schifffahrt, Mainz

Model of an antique barge, Schifffahrts- und Schiffbaumuseum Wörth am Main
1 Model of an antique barge, Schifffahrts- und Schiffbaumuseum Wörth am Main © Schifffahrts- und Schiffbaumuseum Wörth am Main

Bavarian State Conservation Office Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen & Bavarian State Archaeological Collection with the support of the Bayerische Sparkassenstiftung