Roman doors


broken stern –
sink well enough and I’ll be preserved
my cabin doors standing
my galley floor burnt

sunken tools –
they tell my story
repairman of what’s broken
a carpenter by trade

archaeologist –
if you find my vessel
in 2000 years time
what will you uncover?

a charred heart
for healing
– sink well enough and I’ll be preserved

I present to you: the most complete Roman river craft ever discovered in north-west Europe. Unlike most vessels of its kind known from Roman times, it was not stripped bare and abandoned, but sunk while still in operation… It was wrecked around the year 190 AD, possibly due to navigational error. It sank, and much of the ship’s interior and captain’s personal belongings were preserved.

The doors struck me, even before I remembered I could use them for our #ThursdayDoors. They look like if you enter through them, you might step back in time. The doors are the entry to the cabin. Behind that was a second room, the galley. Cooking was done on a tile, to keep the wood safe from the fire. You can see the tile in the picture of the guided tour. It’s right from the grinding stones, in the next cabinet.

The wooden thingy behind the knife blades, was a kind of mixer, used to remove lumps from the porridge. In the next picture you’ll find around-the-corner keys. I don’t understand how those worked, which is a good reason to go back for a next visit!

The carpenter had a number of wood processing tools. I chose to photograph this one, because of the wood curls that were found in it. Wood chips almost 2000 years old, because he hadn’t cleaned his tools yet… It makes the past present, and makes me wonder about time.

I took pictures of the things that touched me the most. Except for the sandals, which are replicas, all items you see are real. They belonged to the captain of the ship and he used them. They also found a cabinet and chests where stored things in – all wooden, and very rare finds to be preserved, and preserved this well.

I’ve seen lots of Roman remains but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Roman doors. The Museum Hoge Woerd near Utrecht (The Netherlands) has done a great job at displaying all the wonderful special finds and telling their story.

9 thoughts on “Roman doors

  1. marianallen

    That is fabulous! Standing in the presence of artifacts of the past stuns me. And I can’t imagine how those around-the-corner keys would work, or why they were needed!

  2. Norm 2.0

    Wow that is amazing. And congrats to you, I think you now have the record for oldest door posted for #ThursdayDoors. Bravo!


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