Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Ship C "A Cache of Vintage Ships"
Volume 52 Number 4, July/August 1999

Technicians apply protective fiberglass shell to ship C.

The third, ship C, survives for a length of about 20 feet, including several beams (timbers running from side to side) in addition to the planking and framing. Along one of the beams is a graffito reading "O D A [?] ...," now meaningless but perhaps a product of some Roman mariner's idle hours. From one gunwale a thole pin still protrudes, the ancient equivalent of an oarlock, consisting of a wooden peg to which an oar would have been loosely fastened with a loop of rope. When I was in Pisa, Icnos was giving ship C its fiberglass shell: Technicians had covered the wood with large sheets of clear plastic, inserting foam rubber pads in spaces between pieces of wood where the fiberglass could not fit. In a process recalling the make-a-piñata papier-mâché projects of grade-school art class (but much more precise), they were layering one-foot squares of fiberglass cloth three or four thick over the plastic, painting them with liquid resin to hold them together. As the resin dries, it creates a hard shell capable of maintaining the ship's shape during transportation.  cont.

Inscription "O D A [?]..."

Thole pin (ancient equivalent of oarlock)

Conservator paints fiberglass square with resin.

Introduction | Ship A | Ship B | Ship C | Ship D | Other Ships | A New Museum?

© 1999 by the Archaeological Institute of America