Archaeologists examine 'extremely rare' 1,300-year-old ship they need to water every 30 minutes

  • 25 Jun - 01 Jul, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Archeologists in France have uncovered an "extremely rare" yet fragile shipwreck in France believed to be 1,300 years old. The French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) revealed the 12-meter (40-foot) boat to the public in Villenave-d'Ornon on the banks of the Garonne in southwest France, according to NBC News. However, the wreck's beams of oak, chestnut and pine are delicate enough that air could destroy it, having not been in contact with oxygen or light since it sank. Excavation leader Laurent Grimber told the outlet that workers "are watering" the partial remains of the wreck "every 30 minutes" as they aim to "limit the degradation of the wood." Doing so, Grimber explained, is "especially" important at the moment as southwest France experiences a heatwave. On its website, Inrap described the vessel as an "exceptional testimony to the naval architecture of the high Middle Ages," with radiocarbon dates between A.D. 680 and A.D. 720. The excavation and dismantling portion of the shipwreck project is running on schedule and "should be finished by mid-September," Grimber told NBC News. "This dismantling will allow a detailed analysis of the construction of the boat," the institute said on its website, calling the wreck "an essential operation to determine the naval architectural tradition to which it is attached."