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Research Groningen Institute of Archaeology Research Research groups GIA

Dutch clinker-built ships in the 15th and 16th centuries

Alice Overmeer

Alice Overmeer

E-mail: alice

Supervisors: prof. dr. D.C.M. Raemaekers, Prof. Dr. H.R. Reinders and Dr. A.F.L. van Holk

Period of employment: 1 July 2005 - 30 June 2009

Financed by: Province of Flevoland

Project Description:

In 1969 an interesting and unique shipwreck was found at lot U 34 in the polder of eastern Flevoland, the Netherlands. The ship, dated about AD 1530, was 30 m long and completely clinker-built. The overlapping strakes were connected by a combination of rove and rivet and small treenails. In the Netherlands a few similar shipwrecks have been found dating from the same period, but not as large as the ship at lot U 34.

The Dutch clinker-built ships show characteristics found in the hitherto known medieval ship-building traditions in Scandinavia (with rove and rivet, and hair used as caulking material), the Baltic (with small treenails) and the Dutch IJsselmeerpolders, the area of reclaimed land in the former Zuiderzee (with moss as caulking material). However, none of these ships can be totally classified under one single tradition and the characteristics are not found in all ships, but vary and succeed each other. Wood provenance analyses show that some of these ships were built of Dutch/north German wood and others of Baltic or Swedish wood.

This PhD research attempts to give the Dutch clinker-built ships, with their deviant features, a place in the medieval shipbuilding traditions of Europe. The following topics will be addressed.

In the first place the Dutch clinker-built shipwrecks, in particular the one from lot U 34, are studied. The resemblances and differences are put in a database. Special attention will be given to further dendro-chronological analyses and provenance analyses of cargo and inventories.

Secondly the Dutch wrecks will be compared with similar ship finds from other parts of Europe. From this research it will become clear to what extent the clinker boatbuilding method as outlined above, is a typical Dutch building method. Possibly this method was more widespread across Europe.

In the third place the possible origin of the clinker building method is studied. Research focuses on the shipbuilding traditions in the Dutch area and north-western Europe from about the Early Middle Ages. Interesting items are the finds of early medieval rivets in the Dutch coastal area of Friesland. However, complete ship finds from this period are still lacking.

Finally, the ships are studied in their economic and social context. The cog-ships of the Hanseatic League (AD 1200-1400) and the flutes used in the Dutch Golden Age (AD 1600-1700) are widely known. Compared to these periods, little is known about Dutch navigation and ship-building in the intermediary period. In this period however, the transfer from clinker-built to carvel-built was made. Therefore a study of the main political and economic events in north-western Europe, in particular in the area of the former Zuiderzee may explain the developments of Dutch shipbuilding in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Laatst gewijzigd:23 juli 2018 13:29