Roman military boats of Oberstimm
The Roman military boats from Oberstimm
The course of the old river Brautlach is today still visible as a depression in the terrain. When a test trench was dig through the depression in 1986, the timbers of the boats came to light. Thanks to the water-logged milieu in the old riverbed the organic material was still in good condition. However, professional recovery, conservation and presentation need careful planning and skilled specialists, so that the excavation of the boats only began in 1994. Today the traces of the excavation are identifiable by the patches in the tarmac surface of the market and the gap in the line of trees. The boats’ hulls were preserved to a length of about 15 m and were almost complete. The width of one boat was 2.7 m, and it was up to 1 m high. The wood for the boats came from two different kinds of trees; the planks were of pine, whereas the supporting structure was made of oak.
When the fort was abandoned, the boats were in a bad state of repair and were sunk in an area which was already being used as a rubbish dump. A quayside was later built on the river bank and wooden piles were driven through the buried boats. The boats provided space for 20 rowers, andin addition had a mast and sail. The narrow stern and bow are typical for boats used by the army for purposes such as transporting troops, patrolling and conveying messages.
Dendrochronological analyses revealed that the boats were built around AD 100. As the oldest wooden piles from the quayside date to AD 118, the boats must have been used and then sunk some time before then.