As I posted yesterday, the remains of a boat have recently been found in the Leidsche Rijn part of Utrecht after the heavy rains washed away the cloaking dirt. A good story was promised to be revealed in today’s press conference and they didn’t disappoint. Not only is there one boat that’s been uncovered, but there are actually two boats. More impressive is the fact that these boats date back to 750 AD and 950 AD respectively. Amazingly, these are the first boats from this era to be uncovered by archaeologists in the Netherlands. Score!
The older of the two boats measures approximately 50 meters long, while the newly discovered boat from 956 measures in at approximately 20 meters long. This newly discovered ship is so well preserved that some of the moss that was used to keep the ship watertight is still in evidence. There are even marks still visible in the wood from the shipbuilders themselves.
The ships lie in the bed of what was the medieval Rhine River, which flowed through Utrecht on its way to the North Sea. The river was a busy spot during these early years, with Viking incursions, as well as Utrecht’s role as a principal market town. The route of the river has changed since then, so now the Leidsche Rijn, the old site of the Rhine, is providing quite a bit of archaeological bounty. Previously, the remains of six Roman ships were discovered in the area.
You can see some of the photos that have been released of the ships and the site at the Gemeente Utrecht website.