Posts Tagged ‘amphorae’

Over 2000 years ago, a boat loaded with 25 tonnes of stones sank in the Rhone and lay undisturbed 4m down on the river bed.  Divers discovered it during their explorations which uncovered the wonderful head of Caesar exhibited last year.

The 31m long boat lay beneath literally thousands of discarded amphorae and items of pottery – plus more recent additions like an unloaded revolver and an abandoned car.

It was typical of the flat-bottomed barges that the Romans used on rivers throughout Europe and was very well preserved.  The divers found its rudder, ropes, a mast, the sailors’ kitchen complete with oven. 

Carefully, the team winched the boat, in ten sections, up to the surface and it has now been taken to a special lab in Grenoble for restoration.  The wood had to be watered constantly and is now being steeped in resin for 8-12 months. 

In the meantime, the Musee Departmental Arles Antique (much more fun than it sounds) is preparing for its arrival in 2013 – it will be the most complete Roman boat in a museum.  A new wing is being constructed for the boat which will be shown in a realistic setting with over 400 objects taken from the river to illustrate the trade undertaken to and from Arles. I think that this museum does this type of display particularly well.

There’s lots of information on www.arles-antique.cg13.fr.  But I don’t know what happened to that car!


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