Station: [24] Ships in the harbour

  • Oldenburger Wallmuseum

In the 8th to 12th century, Starigard was the north-westernmost trade center of the Slavs. The Oldenburg rift from Weißenhaus/Putlos to Dahme which in those days could be passed by ship intercrossed here with the road trade route from Lübeck to Fehmarn.

Transporting of goods overland was strenuous, dangerous and very time consuming. If you went across rivers and canals you could transport your goods quicker across longer distances. The construction of the ship had to be broad for the river, with a small draft. A flat strip of land sufficed as a harbor to land.

The freight sailing ship ‘Starigard’, directly at the jetty in front of you was rebuilt exactly in accordance with the original ship in Wollin, Poland.

The oak-wood planks are held together using willow wood plugs, in contrast to Viking ships where iron nails were used, as for our second ship, the ‘Ratatorsk’.

The clearance between the planks is sealed with sheep wool and birch pitch. The mast, the yardarm and the oars are made of Scandinavian spruce. The ship can be rowed and sailed.

The ‘Starigard’ has one large sail comprising woven linen strips. To protect the linen from decomposing due to saltwater and sunlight it has been immersed in a ‘tan’, just like the Slavs did, which also gives the linen a brown color. The Slavs also used sails made of jute or hemp or of untwisted woolen thread which was woven in smaller and larger sheets, and then sewn. They looked similar to present-day woven cloth – or loden fabric.

The Starigard is 11 m long, 3 m wide and has a draft of 60 cm. This means the ship can also sail in marsh areas.

When the Starigard is fully laden with 5 tons of linen, sacks, barrels and other items, it reaches only 65 cm deep into the water.

A remarkable feature is that the ships have no cabins. People covered themselves and the goods with large canvases.