Ancient Roman boatbuilding terminology

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Brent Annable, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Brent Annable
    Joined: Oct 2018
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    Brent Annable Junior Member

    Hello all,

    I'm new here and don't own a boat. I am a translator currently working on texts for an exhibition, which includes an excavated first-century Roman 'pram' (the flat-bottomed ship type, not the dinghy type). it's often described as a 'Roman river barge', which, as far as I can figure out, is not entirely accurate. It's a flat-bottomed river-going vessel with a shallow draught (50cm), about 5m wide and 25m long, with a single mast near the front. The salvaged wreck is called 'De Meern 1', and there are some pictures of the reconstructed ship here:

    Category:Shipwreck De Meern 1 - Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Shipwreck_De_Meern_1

    Anyhow, I've run up against some terminology problems, which I'm hoping someone here can help with. In describing the sides of the boat (the 'bulwarks'? the bits that stick up from the hull anyway), there are some Dutch terms used which I'm having trouble finding English equivalents of. Here they are, and their descriptions in English:

    Bodem (bottom? hull?)
    The bodem is made of four boards that are each 60 centimetres wide, called vlakgangen (strakes?).

    Boord (bulwarks? sides?)
    The sides or ‘bulwarks’ are made of three parts: the kimstuk (see below), the boordgang (this is basically just the timber planks used to create the side) and the boeisel (I think this is a gunwale or caprail? The bit at the top of the sides).

    Kimstuk
    To make sure the ship is watertight, the transition between the hull (bodem) and the bulwark (boord - is this join called the ‘chine’?) is created from a rabbeted tree-trunk, called the kimstuk (i.e. a tree trunk with an L-shaped section cut out of it that is affixed to the chine to reinforce the join).

    Is any of this making sense to anyone, and can anybody help with the terminology? Or point me in the right direction? I feel quite 'out of my depth' :)

    Thanks,

    Brent.
     
  2. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Hi Brent and welcome.
    I think forum member Angelique may be able to help you. I expect she will be along shortly... :)
     
  3. Brent Annable
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    Brent Annable Junior Member

    Oh great! My deadline is in around 21 hours... do you think she might be around by then?

    Brent.
     
  4. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    She is on here most days. But you could try sending her a message through the forum.

    Edit: Aah, I see that Angelique does not accept private messages. I'm afraid you will have to wait and cross your fingers!
     
  5. Brent Annable
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    Brent Annable Junior Member

    Ok thank you. I am trying in vain to find a message option... I have found Angelique, but can't view their profile because of privacy settings. Am I missing something?
     
  6. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Aah, I see that Angelique does not accept private messages. I'm afraid you will have to wait and cross your fingers!
     
  7. Earl Boebert
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    Earl Boebert Senior Member

    I passed your request off to a Dutch mariner I know, we'll see what he comes up with.

    Cheers,

    Earl
     
  8. Brent Annable
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    Brent Annable Junior Member

    Thank you so much Earl!
     
  9. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    The Bodem & Boord are easily translatable, but I had to dig here to find the link below with a lot of good information about kimstuk & other nomenclature. Pics included. Google translate is your friend.

    kimstuk
    term introduced for excavations of certain ships for parts of the wooden ship's skin. These are Roman ships with skin that is composed of irregularly shaped parts. In this case, both the transition board and the first aisle are called the kimstuk. Parts on top of that are called kimklamp and board.

    [​IMG]

    Woordenlijst Kij http://www.debinnenvaart.nl/binnenvaarttaal/woord.php?woord=kij
     
  10. JSL
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    JSL Senior Member

    I could be way off base here but if it was Roman they would use Latin.... which is the root of several Romance languages - French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian. For terminology, these might be a better start than Dutch.
     
  11. Earl Boebert
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    Earl Boebert Senior Member

    In general, yes, but it appears that the salvaged wreck is on display in Holland, hence the Dutch text the translator appears to be working from. In any case his deadline has passed so only JosephT was able to help.

    Cheers,

    Earl
     
  12. Brent Annable
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    Brent Annable Junior Member

    Hey all! thanks for all of your suggestions. I eventually found a paper on a similar wreck at the last minute which had a diagram labeled in English that saved my bacon. If anyone is interested, I found out that the 'kimstuk' seems to be called a 'chine block'. I'll attach the document containing the diagram in case anybody is curious about the rest :)

    Thanks all for your help!

    Brent.
     

    Attached Files:


  13. Earl Boebert
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    Earl Boebert Senior Member

    Great, glad it worked out. And thanks for the attachment. I've been interested in these boats since I saw one dug up on Time Team. The Romans were an amazing bunch.

    Cheers,

    Earl
     
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