500-year old boat discovered in Czersk
A shipwreck of a Wisła Punt - a 16th century mass cargo boat - was discovered in Czersk (Góra Kalwaria municipality) in the oxbow lake created from the river Wisła. It's the first complete boat of this kind, that was discovered. The archaeological expedition was lead by Dr. Waldemar Ossowski from the Underwater Research Department of the Polish Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. The remains of the boat lie in a oxbow lake, near the Czersk lake. The boat was discovered 20 years ago, during works to deepen the lake, but the examination of it only began last year.
The boats hull was 30 meters long and 7 meters wide - this goes to show that we have found the biggest boat, that is the Punt. This type of boat sailed the Wisła up till the 18th century - says Dr. Ossowski.
The punt was the most popular form of transport down the Wisła since the 15th century. The boat could carry grain, that weighed up to 100 tons.
Thanks to the two week long archaeological research it was possible to precisely establish the details of the boats construction. The shipwreck is heavily tilted to its left side, and it is slightly broken in the middle. Its flat bottom is in a good state. Remains of pottery, nails and horseshoes were discovered inside the hull.
The tree ring dating analysis that was done indicate, that the wood used to build the boat was cut down in the second half of the fifteenth century. Further studies will more accurately determine the ship's age. The second chronological indicator, that allows us to establish the age of the shipwreck is the shape of the caulking buckles. Those found on the boat match late fifteenth or early sixteenth century ones.
Dr. Ossowski informs that the boats bottom is made of 7 cm thick, and 34-48 cm wide oak planks. Moss and animal hair braids were used to join the planks together. The caulking was put into longitudinal stitches and it was sealed by a wooden board and metal buckles.
The wreck bears many signs of repair. Scientists don't exclude that it was built in the second half of the fifteenth century, and could have still been in use in the first half of the sixteenth century. This is the first fifteenth century boat discovered. Previous ones can only be dated back to the first half of the fifteenth century.
Before the shipwreck is pulled out of the mud, the scientists have to raise funds for its conservation. The punt is once again covered with sand and water. In this case it is the best way to preserve it. It survived a few hundred years in these conditions.
PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland, tr. ajb, Szymon Zdziebłowski