How Java’s seafarers built their boats in the 6th and 7th centuriesJuly 11th, 2009 - 2:47 pm ICT by ANI
Jakarta, July 11 (ANI): The recent discovery of an ancient boat in Indonesia has shed light on how Java’s seafarers in the 6th and 7th centuries built their boats.
According to a report in The Jakarta Post, the ancient boat, measuring 15.6 meters long and 4 meters wide, was found in Punjulharjo village, Rembang district, in Rembang regency.
A team from the Yogyakarta Archaeology Center made a detailed study of the site, about 200 meters inland from the Java Sea coastline, from June 17 to 26 this year.
The boat, approximately 1,200 years old, was found buried near the Central Java northern coastline, with its bow lying to the west and its stern in the east.
The ancient boat is the most complete ever found in Indonesia, according to the chairman of the Yogyakarta archaeology team, Novida Abbas.
“So far, we have only got wooden planks and other separate pieces. The discovery in Rembang is 50 percent intact,” Novida said. “We can see the actual shape of the boat and its construction technology,” he added.
Novida estimates that the boat could hold 30 people.
Its skeleton remains complete, including its sides, bottom, curved ribs (to support the sides), stringers (to fasten the ribs) and wooden pegs, as well as palm-fiber ropes to fasten the ribs to knobs on the inside of the sides. There are also rattan and bamboo items.
According to Priyatno Hadi, a team member and archaeology graduate from Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University, the main body of the boat was unbroken.
The hull was built using a very simple method that did not require any metal components.
“Planks were first arranged to form an arc and then the curved wooden ribs were placed in parallel rows from the stern to the bow. Thereafter, they were fastened and strengthened with wooden pegs,” said Hadi, showing the thumb-sized pegs.
Twelve of the boat’s 17 ribs are still joined to its flanks, with their palm-fiber ropes still partly tied in their knots.
Unusually, there are also L-shaped planks in the stern - with those in the bow probably having been lost - for reinforcement due to the palm-fiber rope holes.
Missing are the upper parts of the boat and some parts of the bow, according to Novida.
“The entire boat may have been larger than what has been found today. Its age of 12 centuries and its almost complete state provide good material for more comprehensive research,” he said.
“So, we will finally have an idea of what Indonesia’s ancient boats looked like without having to speculate much. This finding gives us a good idea,” he added. (ANI)
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Tags: ancient boat, archaeology center, archaeology team, central java, construction technology, flanks, gadjah mada university, jakarta post, java sea, knobs, metal components, northern coastline, palm fiber, parallel rows, ropes, sea coastline, seafarers, wooden pegs, wooden planks, wooden ribs