Archaeologia Maris Baltici et Septentrionalis

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2011 | Roskilde visit: Kraka Fyr & Krákan


Meeting Jon Adams and Anton Englert in Roskilde

On 16.-26. August another research visit to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde was made, primarily to make use of the excellent maritime specialist library, but also to revise my thesis structure under the guidance of my external supervisor Anton Englert. Incidentally, Jon Adams – my mentor from my former university – paid a visit to Roskilde, which provided a welcome opportunity to catch up, after having graduated 5 years ago. I also had the opportunity to make acquaintance to Volker Westphal who also happened to visit Roskilde at the same time. He was the first  to point out that the Kollerup wreck from 1153 must have had a stern-rudder, because the lateral-centre was so disparate from the sail-centre, that the lee-helm could not be counteracted anymore by a conventional side-rudder (Westpahl 1999, 113). Volker’s assertion was later scientifically proven by the discovery of iron concretions in the sternpost, which pointed to the presence of rudder gudgeons (Hocker & Daly 2006, 192f.). This is one of the earliest finds of the innovative stern-rudder, which had several advantages over the side rudder (cf. Mott 1991, 79ff.).

Last not least, I had the pleasure of joining the bådelaug on Wednesday evenings, i.e. as crew member of KRAKA FYR (the Skuldelev 6 reconstruction) and later also as helmsman, testing a side-rudder which was – with reference to the abovementioned – already unfashionable and outdated 800 years ago.  Below you’ll find a modest cinematic tribute to the Viking Ship Museum with which I wish to express my gratitude for the friendly welcome, academic support, excellent coffee and admittance to the museum’s bådelaug. Always great to be back!

What is perhaps also worth mentioning is that KRÁKAN – an Áttamannafar under Anton’s command for which crew I was drafted on Sunday –  won a rowing & sailing contest (Færøbådskonkurrence 21) on the occasion of the Vand & Vind Festival. Ironically, I quickly attuned myself to the Danish commands, because nautical terminology is etymologically related, while still facing problems in coping with the more generic and vernacular terms of the Danish language (despite having visited Danish classes!)


In the winning boat on the Vand & Vind festival


Hocker, F. & Daly, A., 2006, “Early cogs, Jutland boatbuilders, and the connection between East and West before AD 1250″, in L. Blue, F. Hocker & A. Englert, Connected by the Sea (=Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology Roskilde 2003), Oxford, pp. 185-194.

Mott, L., 1991,The Development of the Rudder A.D. 100-1600: A Technological Tale (M.A. thesis), A&M University, College Station, Texas.

Westphal, V., 1999, “Die Kollerup-Kogge. Ein Unikum oder Schlüsselfund zur
Schiffstypengeschichte?” In: Das Logbuch 35: 103-115.


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