Rab Hotel Construction Site Reveals 14th Century Wooden Vessel


July the 25th, 2022 – A Rab hotel construction site has revealed no less than the remains of an impressive fourteenth century wooden vessel, which is now under archaeological investigation.

As Morski writes, archaeological supervision is being carried out by archaeologists at the excavation pit of a construction site (located in the area of ​​the former Hotel Istra, owned by the company Cilika doo from Zagreb). Wooden elements that were found to be parts of a fourteenth century ship’s structure have been discovered.

The remains of the ancient wooden ship (which bears the working name RAB 1) were found in the extreme eastern corner of the cadastral parcel intended for the construction of a new hotel.

Part of the RAB 1 ship structure enters the excavation profile of the construction site, which is now secured by AB columns, as a result of which it is unfortunately partially damaged and unavailable for research.

It has since been learned from the experts that the ship’s structures are located in a layer of sandy-silty material mixed with malacological remains, organic material and original sandstone rocks. In the layer above the ship, a small amount of modern ceramic fragments was found. Most of them are tableware, and the shapes are those of bowls, containers and jugs, all with different types of coating, which, according to the manner in which they’re decorated, more than likely originate from the area of ​​​​Venetian ceramic workshop.

In the area of ​​​​the archaeological probes investigated across the ship, the existence of eleven ribs with associated rib extensions was determined. The ribs in the central part above the plates have a small groove in them, the so-called a drain for the passage of the sea water. On the widest part, it was established that there are ten plates that make up the boat’s full formwork.

At the current stage of investigation, it has been established that the boat didn’t have a keel, but only a wider central keel plate. The ribs and the rib extensions are connected to each other with wooden nails, and at the northern end of the boat, the foundation of the mast resting on two ribs has been preserved.

The length of the visible ship structure RAB 1 is about 6.5 meters, and the width is 2.2 meters, while its original length can be roughly estimated at about 8 meters in total.

Radiocarbon analysis dates the time of wood cutting for the construction of the boat to the beginning of the fourteenth century, which makes the boat discovered at this Rab hotel construction in question a unique opportunity for researching late medieval vessels on the Adriatic Sea.

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