Medieval-Era Ship Raised from Dutch Riverbed

medieval shipwreck denmarkA wooden ship likely to have been deliberately sunk in a Dutch river to alter its flow more than 600 years ago has been successfully raised by a team of archaeologists.

The Ijssel River, a tributary of the legendary Rhine, harbored the flat-bottomed, wooden ship for centuries until it was discovered in 2012 during efforts to widen the river’s flow. The type of ship, a trading vessel known as a cog, was found alongside two other medieval-era ships, with signs that they had been scuttled on purpose by some long-ago band of medieval maritime engineers to control the Ijssel’s flow.

What followed was a three-year effort to recover the ancient cog from the bottom of the riverbed, one that culminated with the vessel being raised completely in just one attempt. The planning efforts required a crane and a platform to be constructed on the Ijssel, followed by a framework erected around the wreck while it still languished on the seabed. Finally, after removing silt, debris, and other detritus from around the cog while still underwater, marine archaeologists created a detailed 3D image of the ship. Based on this data, a series of jacks, crossbeams, and straps were woven underneath the hull of the cog and networked together to raise the ship slowly and carefully without damaging it.

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