Stella 1 (1st c. AD)

Stella 1

Massimo Capulli and Filipe Castro

Introduction

The Anaxum Project is a collaboration with the Dipartimento di Storia e Tutela dei Beni Culturali dell’Università di Udine and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Friuli Venezia Giulia. The project mission is the study of the River Stella, in Northern Italy, throughout time.  In the summer of 2011, a team from ProMare, Texas A&M’s Nautical Archaeology Program, and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology excavated the Stella 1 Roman barge, under the direction of Massimo Capulli from the University of Udine, and Filipe Castro from Texas A&M University, and under the scientific supervision of Luigi Fozzati of the Italian Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities.  The excavation was made possible thanks to the generous support of ProMare, the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation (CMAC), and Dr. Peter and Nancy Amaral, Texas A&M Alumni and long time supporters of the Ship Reconstruction Laboratory / CMAC.

Fig. 1 – Localization (Google Earth).

Found in 1981 in the River Stella, near the villages of Palazzolo dello Stella and Preccenico, in Italy, the Stella 1 barge was dated to the first quarter of the first century CE based on the ceramic materials it carried.  Its planks we-re laced together and its cargo consisted mainly of roof tiles, both embrici and copii.

Fig. 2 – Excavation site (Massimo Capulli).

It was excavated in 1998 and 1999, and a more detailed recording was achieved in the summer of 2011.  This report refers to the 2011 archaeological intervention on the shipwreck.  This excavation is part of a wider project of study of the Stella River cultural landscape through time.  A number of models have been developed in the ShipLAB, and we are currently trying to estimate the plausible size of this barge based on the cargo arrangement recorded in the 1990s, and the structural soundness of the boat.

Fig. 3 – Site plan after 1998 campaign (Bressan 1998).

The study of the artifact dispersion has continued under the direction of Massimo Capulli.  Other shipwrecks have been found in this area, including the Precenicco shipwreck, excavated and studied by Massimo Capulli, and recorded and published as part of the ANAXUM Project, a study of the River Stella and its region through time.  The ANAXUM Project has combined the study of the river morphology and history with the story of its occupation throughout the last 25 centuries. It has generated a steady stream of publications that have connected this shipwreck to the fluvial landscape in which it navigated and shed some light on the life along the Anaxum River.

Team

The work was coordinated by Proff. Luigi Fozzati from the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Friuli Venezia Giulia, co-directed by Massimo Capulli and Filipe Castro, funded by ProMare, CMAC, Peter and Nancy Amaral, Marina Stella, and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Friuli Venezia Giulia, and carried out between June 2nd and July 15th, 2010, by a joint team of the:

University of Udine:  Massimo Capulli, Lucrezia Maria Federico, Massimo Iob, and Daniel Lacumin;

ProMare:  Ayse Atauz, Peter Holt, Dante Bartoli, and Lindsey Thomas;

Texas A&M University:  Filipe Castro, Kelby Rose,  and Kotaro Yamafune

Story of the Ship

Fig. 4 – Site plan showing the wooden structure after the 1999 campaign (Bressan 1999).

Not much is known about the story of this ship. The ceramics from this region were known in Antiquity for their quality and this barge probably spent its life carrying heavy materials up and downstream, serving the populations that  occupied the Anaxum River fertile banks for millenia.

These flat bottom, laced barges were probably a common sight in this landscape, transporting materials along the plane, from the kilns to the city or the nearby harbors. The study of its form and construction helped understand better this construction tradition, which is documented in the upper Adriatic area, both in interior waters, and the in the sea.

Loss

We do not have information. This was a river transport barge and it probably sunk during a flash flood. Only part was found, perhaps because this part of the barge was buried under sediment.

Find

This site was found in in 1981 on the Stella River, at Palazzolo dello Stella, about 600 meters from the Piazza del Porto of the village of Precenicco, Udine, Italy.

In 1998 and 1999, two campaigns were carried out to assess the site, recover the cargo, and record the hull.

In 1998 a one-week long campaign was carried out by IDRA s.n.c., under the scientific direction of Dott.ssa Serena Vitri from the Soprintendenza per I B.A.A.A.S. del Friuli-Venezia Giulia.  The work was directed by Arch. Giuseppe Franca and Dott.ssa Francesca Bressan (1998).  The cargo was partially recovered.  It was spilled over an area at least 30 m long to upstream of the site.

The team concentrated its efforts on the cargo still in place inside the vessel.  Some of the amphoric material was found to be conspicuously absent, perhaps removed by sport divers over the previous decades, given its popularity among collectors.

The cargo found in situ consisted mainly of roof tiles, both embrici and coppi, which were stacked vertically on the flat bottom of the barge.  The ceramics were extremely fragile, partly due to the action of a fungus, which was infesting most of the ceramics found on the site.  Between 76 and 95 embrici were recovered and stored in the museum of the Stella River, located around 600 m downstream.  In November 1998, however, the lower levels of this building were flooded and part of the artifact collection destroyed, or left without labels (Bressan 1998).  The artifact collection is now curated and deposited in the Aquileia Museum.  It has been dated to the first quarter of the first century CE.

In 1999 a second campaign was carried out, lasting two weeks and aiming at the recording of the hull remains.  Again, under the scientific direction of Dott.ssa Serena Vitri from the Soprintendenza per I B.A.A.A.S. del Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the recording work was directed by Dott.ssa Francesca Bressan (Bressan 1999).

After a complete recording of the wooden structure the hull was covered with several layers of geotextile and sand bags, and left in situ.  The quality of the work developed by Dott.ssa Bressan’s team was excellent, mostly when we consider the diving conditions and the short amount of time available for the recording.

Several publications followed the excavation reports, including a detailed analysis of the cargo (Vitri et al. 1999, and Vitri et al. 2003).

Fig. 5 – Site Plan showing the river margin, the hull remains and the structure believed to be part of an embankment protection.

In 2011, during a period of six weeks, a joint team from the Universities of Udine and Texas A&M, sponsored by ProMare Foundation and Texas A&M University Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, promoted a six-weeks excavation campaign on this site under the orientation of Proff. Luigi Fozzati, aiming at a more complete recording of the Stella 1 shipwreck hull structure.

Fig. 6 – Hull plan (F. Castro and K. Yamafune.)

The geotextil protection was removed and the hull structure found perfectly preserved.  Then the sediment protecting the hull remains was removed and the site recorded before the ceiling planking was touched.  After this operation, the ceiling plank was removed, a layer of silt with a heavy concentration of leafs and twigs was removed from inside the hull, exposing the framing system, which was subsequently recorded.  The structure found in 1999 near the hull was also exposed and recorded, after which the entire site was covered with geotextile and protected with sand bags.

Site Formation Process

This fragment of a barge was buried by sediment. 

Tumulus

The hull remains of this boat lie on the left margin of the river, almost perfectly oriented N-S, making an angle of around 45o with the axis of the river.  The bottom is slightly inclined towards the center of the river and tilted to upstream, lying at a depth between 4.6 and 5.6 m.  It rests on a layer of sand of variable thickness (about 5-10 cm around the shipwreck) with large timber fragments mixed with twigs and leafs.  This sand and organic material layer covers a thicker (about 25 cm) layer of brown or grey silt, with a heavy concentration of twigs and leafs – also found underneath the boat’s ceiling planking – which in turn stands on a thick and heavily compacted layer of grey clay that exfoliates along thin horizontal layers.  Underneath there is a layer of highly compacted sand without much apparent organic material.

A scatter of artifacts from the boat’s cargo extends over 30 m upstream, mainly roof tiles (embrici and copii), pepper with shards finer ceramic vases.  A large amount of bones was found on site, all cut in small sections, from 15 to 25 cm.

Amphora remains were found on the site as well, although diagnostic parts, such as collars and handles were absent, as mentioned above.  The accessibility of the site, which has been visited by sport divers for many decades, may explain this fact.

Around the hull remains were abundant bone fragments, covering an area that extended at least 20 m up and downstream.  All bones were fragmented to sizes between 15 and 25 cm.  A sample was taken for analysis.

Ballast

There was no ballast on this barge.

Ship Fittings

This barge was probably punted or towed and there were no fittings in the findings.

Anchors

No anchors.

Hull Remains

The Stella 1 boat is a flat bottomed barge, its bottom a little over 2.00 m wide at the level of frame O4, and of unknown length.  The depth in hold is also unknown, but the embrici stacked over the ceiling planking were about 60 cm tall.  It is possible that the sides of the Stella 1 boat stood about 70 or 80 cm high, making an angle around 75 degrees with the vertical and thus requiring a draft of around 25 cm when loaded with embrici, as explained below.

Fig. 7 – Hull remains (K. Yamafune).

These embrici are 60 cm long, 45 cm wide, 7 cm thick, and weigh around 11.5 Kgf.  They take about 9 cm of space when stacked, due to irregularities in their fabrication.  Along a slice of the hull 1 m long we can stack 2.08 rows of 20 embrici each, weighing 41.6 x 11.5 Kgf = 478.4 Kgf.  This weight corresponds to the displacement for a draft of approximately 24 cm.

Fig. 8 – Measuring the hull remains (M. Capulli).

Neither the bow nor stern of this boat were conserved, although the curve of the bottom on the west extremity of the hull suggests the proximity of one of the ends.

This barge was constructed with laced planks, following a traditional construction system in the region, which does not require the use of dowels to edge-fasten the planks together and provide resistance to sheer efforts, as in the Greek tradition of the Pre-Classical and Classical periods.

After the assemblage of the bottom planks, floor timbers were probably fastened to the bottom with treenails, after which the side planking was added also laced, followed by the futtocks.  Some of the floor timbers were cut from curved logs, and curve upwards on one of the sides, forming a futtock.  As the upstream side (N) was not preserved, it is impossible to establish a pattern for the use of these curved floor timbers.

Fig. 9 – Hull remains model (K. Yamafune).

The wood was badly decayed, extremely fragile, and this circumstance badly impacted the excavation and recording processes. Samples taken in 1999 indicated that this boat’s planking was built with oak (Quercus sp.) and elm (Ulmus sp.), and the ceiling with spruce planks (Picea abies).  No samples were taken for species identification at this time, but all the frames seemed to have been cut from spruce as well (Picea abies).  Some of the futtocks – in particular O10S – may have been cut from oak.  All these trees are native to the region.

Given the boat’s orientation, in the following description timbers’ faces are designated as North “N,” South “S,” East “E,” and West “W.”  North is the river upstream direction, South downstream, East the river margin, and West the center of the river.

Planking

As mentioned above, the planking was laced together, along straight lines, following a known pattern used in the upper Adriatic region.  Where perceived weaknesses in the planking were found, or where repairs were needed during the life span of this boat, small patches were introduced.  Due to low visibility, the non-intrusive nature of this project, and time and budget constraints, it was not possible to assert the order in which these patches were laced, and thus it is impossible to state whether all these patches were introduced after the boat’s construction.  Floor timber O9 was cut in the middle to allow one repair, but it is not possible at this stage to state whether the remaining repairs were done while this vessel was under construction, or later, during its operating life.

Fig. 10 – Planking plan of the Stella 1 wreck (Filipe Castro and Kotaro Yamafune).

The interior surface of the bottom was painted with a thick layer of a hard varnish that made it difficult to analyze in detail, and the lacing around these patches seemed to have been remade at the time of their introduction.  All seams were well planned and executed, and there were no patches clearly inserted over the existing lacing.  Even under floor timber O9, which was cut presumably to allow the introduction of patch No. R4, the lacing ran in a perfectly well organized pattern, with no trace of mistakes and improvised fixes.

Table 1

Dimensions of the Hull Planking

Plank Length (Preserved)

[cm]

Width (East)

[cm]

Width (West)

[cm]

F1 433 33 0
R1 63 8
F2 463 23 19
R2 133 10
F3 500 32 39
F4 501 32 17
F5 488 31 29
F6 473 28 36
F7 460 28 0

Lacing was also used to keep cracks in the planks from leaking.  In several places cracks were closed with lacing, which runs alongside with the seams and ends where the cracks end.

Fig. 11 – Longitudinal view with Side Planks 1 and 2 (Filipe Castro and Kotaro Yamafune).

In spite of the cracks and repairs, the bottom planks seemed to have been sawn from large logs of reasonably good quality.  The overall impression given by this boat is that the planking was carefully chosen.  There were few knots and the grain ran regularly along the entire length of each plank.

Planks were numbered from F1 to F7 (“F” for fasciame, in the original reports) and repairs from R1 to R7.

The outer surface of planking was eroded in many places.  The preserved plank thicknesses varied between 2.4 and 3.6 cm.  Where the outer surface was preserved, its thickness was invariably 3.6 cm.  Both sides presented sawing marks.

Two side planks were preserved on the downstream (S) side of the shipwreck, to a maximum height of 40 cm.  Both were 3.6 cm thick.  The lower plank (SP1) was 486 cm long and its width varied from 12 to 22 cm.  The upper plank (SP2) was preserved along 353 cm and 23 cm wide on its widest section.

On the North side no side planks were preserved, but plank F7 presented two small dowels with diameters near 8 mm, spaced around 4 cm, which may have been used to reinforce the connection between the bottom and that side of the vessel.

Such edge fastenings have not been found anywhere else on the exposed edges of the planks.

Edge Joinery

Fig. 12 – Lacing (M. Capulli).

The planks were laced, as mentioned above, with vegetable fibers passed through holes spaced between 8 and 10 cm apart.  The diameter of the holes was around 12 mm, and the plugs, around 4.5 cm long, tapered from 13 or 14 mm on the inner surface of the planks to 7 or 8 on the other extremity.

Fig. 13 – Schematic representation of the lacing pattern (Filipe Castro).

Although most holes were cut at angles around 45-55o and are barely apparent on the outer surface of the planking, in certain places, imperfections or perceived weaknesses in the planking forced the shipwrights to drill the holes a few centimeters away from the plank edge, and carve a groove for the ligatures on the outer surface of the plank.

Fig. 14 – Kotaro Yamafune’s 3D model of the lacing pattern.

Two dowels were inserted on the edge of plank F7, with diameters around 6-7 mm.  These were the only two dowels observed on the entire boat, and were probably used to reinforce the connection between the side plank and the bottom in this area.

There was one single instance of an iron concretion large enough to be older than those corresponding to the iron nails used in the 1990s.  Unfortunately, this concretion was found on a small fragment of bottom plank, broken, and found without a clear context.  In any event, this was a small nail, unlikely used in the boat construction with structural functions.

Fig. 15 – Lacing holes (F. Castro).
Fig. 16 – Lacing holes diameter, around 1 cm (F. Castro).
Fig. 17 – Lacing hole view from the plank seam (F. Castro).
Fig. 18 – Plugged lacing hole (F. Castro).
Fig. 19 – Plug (F. Castro).
Fig. 20 – Lacing hole, section (F. Castro).
Fig. 21 – Lacing grooves (F. Castro).
Fig. 21 – Lacing grooves (F. Castro).

Frames

The surviving frames were numbered from O1 to O14 (“O” for ordinate, in the original reports), and were composed of floor timbers and first futtocks.

Table 2

Dimensions of the Floor Timbers

Floor Timbers Preserved Length

[cm]

Sided

[cm]

Molded

[cm]

O1 38.5 6 9
O2 187 7 9/6
O3 201 7 8
O4* 202 8 10
O5* 194 5.5/6.5 10/9
O6 193 6/7 9
O7* 191 6.5/5.5 9
O8 180 5 7.5/8.5
O9 7/6.5 9
O10 183 6/7.5 8.5/9.5
O11 180 5.5/7.5 7/8.5
O12* 168 9.5 10
O13* 146 6 9/8
O14* 127 9 7

* Complete floor timber.

Fig. 22 – Surviving frames of the Stella 1 wreck (Filipe Castro and Kotaro Yamafune).

Frame O1 – Consisted of a single fragment of the floor timber.  This fragment was 6 cm sided and 9 cm molded.  It was preserved along 36.5 cm and was found displaced, near frame O2.  It appears in its original position in the 1999 drawing, next to the N edge of the vessel bottom.  This position was clearly marked by the treenail holes preserved on the hull planking.

Fig. 23 – Surviving frames of the Stella 1 wreck (Filipe Castro and Kotaro Yamafune).

It was cut from a small tree, perhaps not much older than 22 years. Its E face was sawn and its W face was left irregular, with bark preserved along some of its length.  A limber hole and a notch to fit the lacing/caulking were cut with an adze.  The original surface of the upper face is eroded. The bottom face of this floor timber also seems to have been adzed.

There were two treenails preserved on this floor timber, together with the hole of a third one.  All treenails had sections around 12 mm in diameter.

 Frame O2 – Consisted of two fragments of the original floor timber.  It was 7 cm sided and its molded dimension varied between 6 and 9 cm.  It was preserved along 187 cm.  It was found in its original position.  Its N end was preserved, although very eroded on both E and W faces.  There were no traces of fastenings to the N futtock. On the S side this floor timber was missing around 20 cm of its original length.

It was cut from a small tree, perhaps not much older than 25 years. Its W face was sawn and its E face seems to have been cut with an adze.  In some places it does not have the full section, showing the waney edge of the timber.  A small portion, on the N side, was raised and drawn at a 1/1 scale.  It presented two limber holes and three notches to fit the lacing and caulking strap.  While the notches for the lacing were clearly cut with an adze, at least one of the limber holes was cut by sawing two vertical lines 3.5-4 cm apart, and hacking the wood in between them.  In total, it presented 4 limber holes.  The original surface of the upper face is eroded. The bottom face of this floor timber seems to have been adzed.

There were 10 treenails apparent on this floor timber, all around 12 mm in diameter.  One if the treenails ran through one of the limber holes.

Table 3

Dimensions of the Futtocks

Futtocks Preserved Length

[cm]

Sided

[cm]

Molded

[cm]

O7S 22 4 8
O8S 30 7 7
O9S 24 7 8.5
O10S 22 6 7
O11S 32 6 12
O11N 20 4* 7
O13S 23 7** 7**

*Eroded.

**Approximated values.

Frame O3 – Consisted of three fragments of the floor timber.  It was 7 cm sided and 8 cm molded, and it was preserved along its entire length: 201 cm.  Its N end was preserved and presented a notch to fit the lacing and a simple, flat scarf, to connect with the respective N futtock, which was missing.  There were no traces of fastenings to the N futtock. The S side was almost completely preserved and presented a notch to fit the lacing.  A few centimeters were missing, however, and it is not possible to state whether there were any fastenings between this floor timber and the S futtock.

It was cut from a small tree, 14 rings were preserved to the waney edge, indicating a tree perhaps not much older than that. Its W face was sawn and its E face was cut with an adze.  In some places it does not have the full section, showing the waney edge of the timber.  In total, it presented 3 limber holes, unevenly positioned.  The original surface of the upper face is eroded. The bottom face of this floor timber seems to have been adzed.  While the notches for the lacing were clearly cut with an adze, at least one of the limber holes was cut by sawing two vertical lines 3.5-4 cm apart, and hacking the wood in between them.

There were 15 treenails preserved on this floor timber, of which 11 were 12 mm in diameter, and four seemed to have been used to reinforced the previous fastenings, as they were 18 mm in diameter, and positioned close to smaller treenails.

Frame O4 – Consisted of a floor timber and was almost fully preserved.  It was 8 cm sided and 10 cm molded, and it was preserved along 202 cm.  Its N end was eroded along the upper face, but seemed to miss only a few centimeters from the original length. The notch to fit the lacing was completely preserved, and the same happened in the floor timber S end.  A diagonal treenail on the N extremity, which seemed to pass through the outer planking as well, may have fastened this end of O4 to the N futtock.

This timber’s conversion could not be observed in detail, but it seems to have been cut from a small tree. Floor O4 presented a constant and well-defined section along its length and both its sides seem to have been sawn.  It presented only one limber hole.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face of this floor timber could not be observed.

There were 13 treenails preserved on this floor timber, 10 around 12 mm in diameter and three around 18 mm in diameter.  One of these treenails ran through a limber hole, and several were placed very close to the seams.

 Frame O5 – Consisted of one floor timber and was almost fully preserved.  It was 6 cm sided and 9 cm molded, and it was preserved along 194 cm.  Its N end was eroded and missed 5 to 10 cm of its original length. The notch to fit the lacing was not preserved here.

The S end was fully preserved and presented simple, flat scarf, to connect with the respective futtock.  On the S end there is no trace of any fastening between O5 and futtock O5S.

Again, this timber’s conversion could not be observed in detail, but it seems to have been cut from a small tree. Floor O5 presented an almost constant and well-defined section along its length and both its sides seem to have been sawn, although the upper face on the N end lacked the full section on the E face, along around 50 cm.  There were no apparent limber holes on this floor timber.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face of this floor timber could not be observed.

There were 12 treenails apparent on this floor timber, all around 12 mm in diameter.

Frame O6 – Consisted of only the floor timber, which was not fully preserved.  It was 6 cm sided on the N end and 7 cm on the S end, and around 9 cm molded.  It was preserved along 193 cm.  Its N end was eroded and missed 2 to 4 cm of its original length. A broken fragment on the N extremity with a length of 26 cm was raised and drawn at a 1/1 scale.  The notch to fit the lacing was not preserved on this end.  Again, while the notch for the lacing was clearly cut with an adze, the limber holes on this fragment was cut by sawing two vertical lines 3.5-4 cm apart, and hacking the wood in between them.  The S end was fully preserved.  The S end was complete and showed no evidence of fastenings between the floor timber and the futtock.

As with other frames, this floor timber’s conversion could not be observed in detail, but it seems to have been cut from a small tree. Floor O6 presented a constant and well-defined section along its length and both its sides seem to have been sawn.  It presented only one limber hole.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face of this floor timber could not be observed.

There were 14 treenails preserved on this floor timber, 10 around 12 mm in diameter, and two around 18 mm in diameter.

Frame O7 – Consisted of a floor timber curved on its S extremity to form the futtock.  It was not fully preserved, missing 5 to 10 cm of length on its N end, which was eroded.  This timber’s section was around was 6.5 cm sided on the ends and 5.5 cm in the middle.  It was around 9 cm molded.  It was preserved along 191 cm.

Again, this timber’s conversion could not be observed in detail, but it seems to have been cut from a small tree. Floor O7 showed an irregular section, with waney edges in the middle, and seems to have been adzed on both sides.  Like in frame O5, there were no limber holes.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face of this floor timber could not be observed.

There were only 10 treenails apparent on this floor timber, eight around 12 mm in diameter, and two around 18 mm in diameter.

Futtock O7S had a trapezoidal shape, measuring 10 cm on the base and 6 cm on the top. Its sided dimension also tapered from 5 cm to 3 cm.  It was pierced by a treenail that fastened this frame to the side planking.

Frame O8 – Consisted of one floor timber, which was not fully preserved, and one futtock, found loose on the S side.  The N end of the floor timber was 5 cm sided and around 10 cm molded.  The south end was 5 cm sided as well, but 9 cm molded.  It was preserved along 180 cm.  It was eroded and missed 15 to 22 cm of its original length.

This timber’s conversion could not be observed in detail, but it was cut from a small tree, like the remaining floor timbers. Floor timber O8 seems to have been sawn on the E face and adzed on the W face.  The N portion does not have a regular surface and presents waney edges in several places.  This floor timber had two limber holes.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face could not be observed.

There were 17 treenails preserved on this floor timber, all but two around 12 mm in diameter.  The remaining two were placed near other treenails and presented diameters around 18 mm.

Futtock O8S had a trapezoidal shape, measuring 9 cm on the base and 5 cm on the top.  It is pierced by a circular hole, 18 mm in diameter, which contained a treenail that fastened the futtock to the side planking.  The correspondent hole was preserved on the plank.  Oddly, there were no traces of fasteners connecting this futtock to the floor timber.

Frame O9 – Was probably fashioned from two different timbers, and consisted of a floor timber curved on its S extremity to form the futtock.  Its N extremity was not fully preserved and also curved upwards. This side was broken, however, a few centimeters above the upper face of the floor timber.   In the center of the vessel the two extremities of this frame are cut along 25 cm, presumably to allow a repair, which is evident on the bottom planking.  The section was around 6-7 cm sided, and 9 cm molded.  It was preserved along 97.5 cm on the N and 73 cm on the S end.

Again, although the conversion could not be observed in detail, both sections of this frame seem to have been cut from small trees.  Its E face was sawn and its W face was adzed.  On the section exposed, around 25 rings were counted, from the pith to the waney edge.  It presented one limber hole, on the N side.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking, and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face of this floor timber could not be observed.

There were 13 treenails preserved on this floor timber, all around 12 mm in diameter.  One of these was adzed together with the portion of frame and could be seen on the bottom planking.

Futtock O9S naturally curved upwards, the wood grain running parallel along the curve. A notch was adzed to fit the lacing between the bottom of the side planks, and another on its outer surface to fit the lacing of side planks 1 and 2.  It had a regular shape, 7 cm sided and 8.5 cm molded.  This futtock was pierced by a circular hole with 18 mm in diameter, which contained a treenail that fastened the futtock to the side planking.  The correspondent hole was preserved on the plank.

Frame O10 – Consisted of a floor timber which was not fully preserved, and one futtock, found loose on the S side.  The floor timber was around 6-7.5 cm sided and 8.5-9.5 cm molded.  It was preserved along 183 cm.  Its N end was eroded and missed perhaps 20 cm of its original length. The S end was fully preserved.

Again, this timber’s conversion could not be observed in detail, but it seems to have been cut from a small tree. Floor O10 seems to have been sawn on the E face and adzed on the W face, which does not have a regular surface and presents waney edges in several places, especially towards the N end.  In total, it presented three limber holes.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face of this floor timber could not be observed.

There were 15 treenails preserved on this floor timber, all around 12 mm in diameter, except two, which were around 18 mm in diameter.  One of the smaller treenails ran through the side of the floor timber, piercing it only partially.  Of three pairs of treenails placed together, only one was composed of one treenail of 12 mm and one of 18 mm.  the remaining two were composed of two similar treenails, both around 12 mm in diameter.

Futtock O10S had a regular shape, curving slightly inward, and was 6 cm sided and 7 cm molded.  It was found incomplete showing no trace of fastenings, either to the floor timber or to the side planking. A notch was adzed to fit the lacing of side planks 1 and 2.

Frame O11 – Consisted of a floor timber composed of two timbers.  The S extremity seems to have curved upwards to form the futtock.  Its N extremity curved upwards as well, and was preserved.  A fragment of the N futtock was found nearby.  The floor timber’s varied around 5.5-7.5 cm sided and 7-8.5 cm molded.  It was preserved along 180 cm.

Again, although the conversion could not be observed in detail, the timbers seem to have been cut from small trees.  Its E face was sawn and its W face was adzed.  This is the only floor timber whose grain does not ran parallel to the timber’s axis, presenting a twist on its S end, where the futtock curved upwards.  In total, it presented three limber holes.  The original surface of the upper face was well preserved under the ceiling planking and seemed to have been adzed. The bottom face of this floor timber could not be observed.

There were nine treenails apparent on this floor timber, all around 12 mm in diameter.

Futtock O11S naturally curved upwards, the wood grain running parallel above the curve, where it presented a twisted, as mentioned above. A notch was adzed to fit the lacing between the bottom of the side planks, and two others on its outer surface, to fit the lacing on side planks 1 and 2.  It had a regular shape, 6 cm sided and 12 cm molded.  This futtock was pierced by two circular holes, the lower with 18 mm in diameter, and the higher with 12 mm in diameter, both containing the treenails that fastened this futtock to the side planking.  The correspondent holes were preserved on the plank.

Futtock O11N was eroded and presented a reduced section 4 cm sided and 7 cm molded.  This futtock was also pierced by two circular holes, both 12 mm in diameter and containing the treenails that fastened this futtock to the side planking.

Frame O12 – Was completely preserved and consisted of a single straight floor timber, 168 cm in length, around 9.5 cm sided and 10 cm molded.

Again, although the conversion could not be observed in detail, it is almost sure that it was cut from a small tree.  Its E face was sawn and its W and upper faces were adzed.  There were only eight treenails apparent on this floor timber, all around 12 mm in diameter.

Frame O13 – Was also completely preserved and consisted of a single straight floor timber, 146 cm in length, around 8 cm sided and 8-9 cm molded.

Again, although the conversion could not be observed in detail, it is almost sure that it was cut from a small tree.  Its upper face was adzed.  There were only seven treenails apparent on this floor timber, all around 12 mm in diameter.  Its S extremity presented a flat vertical scarf to connect the respective first futtock.

Frame O14 – Also preserved along its full extension, frame O13 was 127 cm in length, around 9 cm sided and 7 cm molded.  Again, although the conversion could not be observed in detail, it is almost sure that it was cut from a small tree.  Its upper face showed adze marks, as the majority of the floor timbers of this boat.  There were 15 treenails apparent on this floor timber, including one diagonally inserted on its N extremity, and one 18 mm in diameter, placed next to a 12 mm treenail.  All other treenails were 12 mm in diameter.

Ceiling

The ceiling planking was designated with the letter “P” from the original report pagliolato.  It seems to have been sawn.  Its thickness varied around 3 cm.  The ceiling planking was not fastened to the frames.  One of the planks (P7), however, presented notches to fit the futtocks.

Fig. 24 – Ceiling planking of the Stella 1 wreck (Filipe Castro and Kotaro Yamafune).

Table 4

Dimensions of the Ceiling Planking

Plank Preserved Length

[cm]

Width

[cm]

P1 264 18-22
P2 117 22-23
P3 351 21-23
P4 397 14-23.5
P5 382 22.5-23.5
P6 390 25-31
P7 328 0-20

Structure

As mentioned above, a long structure was found near the shipwreck, possibly the bottom of a containment barrier that was once part of the margins of the Stella River, and has since been eroded and dragged to the center of the river.

It was composed of two layers of planks, the inner one fastened with mortise and tenon joints, and the outer one more difficult to interpret in this preliminary stage of our research.

Fig. 25 – Structure, probably from an embankment protection (F. Castro).

It measured around 8 m in length and as it was found it was slightly curved in its N extremity.  It seems to have been composed of two layers of planking.  The outer layer, perhaps originally leaning against the river margin, was 21 molded and 6 cm sided on the base, tapering to 4 cm at the top.  A second plank, 4 cm sided and not fully preserved, was fastened to the lower one with mortise and tenon joints.

Fig. 26 – View of the structure (F. Castro).

The mortises were spaced 9 to 12 cm apart and were 8 to 10 mm wide, 6 to 8 cm long, and 6 to 8 cm deep.  The tenons were around 5 cm wide, 7 mm thick and 12 cm long.  The pegs were 16 mm in diameter.

A diagonal cut on the outer plank seemed to correspond to a scarf joining two planks forming the lower strake.  There were no visible pegs, but a small iron nail was inserted on this plank near the scarf, through which ran a vertical fracture.

Fig. 27 – Structure: pegged mortise and tenon joint (F. Castro).

Towards its S side, four vertical pillars were preserved, treenails to the outer layer of planking and receiving the inner layer of planking, which was nailed to them with an iron nail about 12 cm in length, with square heads around 5 cm on a side.  The position of a fifth pillar could be deduced from a nail hole placed on the preserved inner plank, but the lack of this plank in the remaining length of the structure made it difficult to reconstruct.  There were no treenail marks on the central portion of the outer plank – although the missing pillars could have been treenailed to the upper, missing, strake – but two are clearly marked towards the N end on this plank.

Fig. 28 – View of the structure (F. Castro).

This structure was buried in a layer of silt with abundant quantities of leafs and twigs, and standing on a layer of compact sand without apparent vegetable remains.  Its preserved upper face lied slightly deeper that the bottom of the vessel, which was also buried in the silt layer with twigs and leafs.

A small pole 43 cm long (as preserved) and 4 cm in diameter was inserted between the outer and inner layers of planking, on the N end of the structure, and secured with a longitudinal timber inserted between two pillars, measuring 36 cm in length – the space between pillars – and with a section 8 cm sided and 10.5 cm molded.  The top of the pole was squared and inserted in a notch cut of the S face of the longitudinal timber.

Fig. 29 – Pilar (F. Castro).

Another of these poles was found lying under the structure nearby, and a small pillar with a tenon on one end was found buried in the sand layer, beneath the silt layer that covered the structure.   The upper 10 cm of this sand layer covered more broken timbers, including fragments of planks – of which one presented a preserved section 3 cm thick and 15 cm wide.

Conclusions

This report is only a preliminary description of the hull remains of this interesting shipwreck.  Its dimensions have been described as accurately as possible, as well as its construction features.  Further study, to be developed during the incoming year, will aim at a full publication of this shipwreck in a peer-reviewed journal, and at a finer analysis of the lacing solution used on its construction.

Another avenue o research is the study of the hull’s sturdiness and possible size, using engineering software developed at the Secção Autónoma de Engenharia Naval (SAEN) of Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), an old partner of the Ship Reconstruction Laboratory (ShipLab) at Texas A&M University.

Fig. 30 – It is difficult to reconstruct the barge from its remains. The overall dimensions of the barge are unknown, and the cargo was partially salvaged and perhaps displaced by the current (F. Castro).

A virtual model is already being developed by one of the team members, Kotaro Yamafune, and a comprehensive report – which will encompass this one – is being developed by ProMare, the non-profit foundation that has funded this excavation, in partnership with Texas A&M University’s Center for maritime Archaeology and Conservation.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Friuli Venezia Giulia, ProMare, CMAC, Peter and Nancy Amaral, Mario and Giovanna De Candido (Marina Stella), and the joint team from the University of Udine (Lucrezia Maria Federico, Massimo Iob, and Daniel Iacumin), Promare (Ayse Atauz, Peter Holt, Dante Bartoli, and Lindsey Thomas), and Texas A&M University (Kelby Rose and Kotaro Yamafune).

Publications

Bressan, F., Nave romana nel fiume Stella, Precenicco-Palazzolo, Udine, 21-26 settembre 1998. Venezia: IDRA s.n.c. Lavori Subacquei – Archaeologia & Ambiente, 1998.

Bressan, F., Intervento di rilievo subacqueo della nave romana situata nell’alveo del fiume Stella, 20 luglio – 6 agosto 1998. Venezia: IDRA s.n.c. Lavori Subacquei – Archaeologia & Ambiente, 1999.

Capulli, M., and Castro, F., 2014. “Navi cucite di epoca romana: il caso del relitto Stella 1” in Asta, A., Caniato, G., Gnola, D., Medas, S., eds., Atti del II° Convegno Nazionale di Archeologia, Storia, Etnologia Navale per la Salvezza del Patrimonio Marittimo Italiano Museo della Marineria di Cesenatico (13-14 April 2012), Breda: Libreria Universitaria.

Capulli, M., and Castro, F., 2012. “Anaxum Project” INA Quarterly 39.3/4: 15.

Castro, F., and Capulli, M., 2016. “The Stella 1 Roman Laced Barge.” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 45.1: 27-39.

Castro, F. and Capulli, M., 2011. The Stella 1 Shipwreck – Hull Description – ShipLab Report 14. On file in Nautical Archaeological Program Library, Texas A&M University., L., Capulli, M. and Castro, F., 2011. “The Stella 1 Shipwreck” CMAC News and Reports 3.2: 17-19.

Vitri, S., Bressan, F., Maggi, P., “Scavo subacqueo e protezione del relitto “Stella 1”.  Interventi 1998-1999”, in Aquileia Nostra (1999) 70: 435-440.

Vitri, S., Bressan, F., Maggi, P., Del’Amico, P., Martinelli, N., Pignatelli, O., Rottoli, M., “Il relito romano del fiume Stella (UD)”, in L. Fiamma, ed., L’Archeologia dell’Adriatico della Preistoria al Medioevo.  Atti del Convegno Internazionale (Ravenna 1-8-9 giugno 2001), Roma, 2003.