Living Danube Limes - Workshop on the Reconstruction of the Lusoria, a 4th Century CE Patrol Ship


On December 14, 2020 a workshop on the reconstruction of the lusoria, our 4th century CE patrol ship, was hosted by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. It lasted from 2 pm to 4.45 pm.


After an introduction to the workshop and the topic of the presentations, the speakers were introduced. In addition, the boat building was placed in the context of the overall project.

In the second lecture, Ronald Bockius described the circumstantial evidence that led Mr Höckmann, the excavator of the Mainz lusoria, which is the model for our ship, to reconstruct the lusoria at about 21.5 m with 30-32 rowers.

In the third lecture, Boris Dreyer outlined the status of the work in progress. The boatbuilding process includes the production of the Roman equipment needed for shipbuilding and the production of shields for the patrol boat, which will be made in student seminars at FAU. In order to man the ship when she is finished, a Roman unit to operate the vessel is also established. Roman clothing and equipment dating to 250 CE will be organised for this purpose. A Roman kiln, which is built in student seminars at FAU as well, will create the atmosphere of a Roman camp, and thus contribute to making history tangible.

The reconstruction process includes the work on the boat itself, of course: Selecting and felling the tree species that were also used on the original, Roman ships (Mainz wrecks). Spruce will be used for the parts of the boat that have not been preserved (i.e. mast, sails, oars). The oak will be felled and transported to Schlungenhof at the Altmühlsee, where the main work site and then also the final location of the lusoria will be. The templates for the Danuvina Alacris, which is the name of the new lusoria-type boat, have been made according to the optimised lines plan. The latticing of the oak and the erection of the hall at the final construction site are reserved for early 2021.

In the fourth lecture, Timm Weski gave an overview of the components of the Roman ships that are not preserved in our original in Mainz, but can plausibly be added from other contexts at or near the same time. Clear evidence cannot be introduced in all cases, but approximations and possibilities can be pointed out.

Boris Dreyer, 16 December 2020

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)