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Keywords:

  • transition in construction;
  • construction principles;
  • construction methods;
  • Mediterranean;
  • Late Antiquity;
  • Early Middle Ages

During the 1st millennium AD ship-construction changed. Previously, ships were built ‘shell-first’—strakes were installed before frames, giving the hull its shape and integrity. About the mid-1st millennium AD the concept and construction of hulls changed to being shaped by transverse frames fixed to the keel, reinforced by longitudinal members. During the transition varying combinations of the two technologies were used. It has been widely accepted that the transition was completed by the beginning of the 2nd millennium. Recent discoveries, mainly in Dor/Tantura lagoon and lately in Yenikapı, analyses of other hulls, and reassessment of evidence, indicate an earlier completion of the transition. Since this process was the result of many factors, including economic and social, and occurred in different areas of the Mediterranean at different times, no simple linear development is suggested, but a more complex process, which raises questions for future research.

© 2012 The Authors