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Sceatha

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  1. Hello Keith, your metalwork has been a great education! Just one question (sorry if you said this already and i missed it). Do you find it necessary to treat shiny bronze with anything so that it does not darken/oxidize over time? Is something like that even necessary, or does bronze retain it's shine even without protection indoors? I have only just started working with bronze and have no experience on the subject, especially when the bronze is not blackened. Thanks! George
  2. Thanks Druxey, I plan to use soapstone for bases more in the future, trying out more complicated shapes. It's a great material.
  3. Thank you all very much for the kind words! Of course Mark. See the photos of the stands below. I loved working with the soapstone. It carves so easily and holds detail so well that I decided to use it much more going forward, beginning with the stands for this ship. After sanding the stone had gotten a bit dull, so I used on it the same tung oil I use on wood.
  4. Thanks guys! That was my first ever build log (though not my first build). It's been a very beautiful experience. Thank you all for your company, support and your enlightening remarks throughout the build. Some of you are veterans here and maybe do not remember your first forum posts, but for me sharing my work for the first time in this step by step way has been an awesome and really educating process. George
  5. Thanks guys! With the attachment of the oars its finally complete. It will now have to wait for a base and a lowered anchor with a kellet to be attached according to Mark's info above. But, as I said, this will have to wait, as I am moving houses towards the end of the year and it will be easier to pack and transfer it without the base. So, I declare it done for now and will post a few pictures with the base when that is done, is a few months' time.
  6. Now that the oars are ready it's time for their attachment to the ship. As is to be expected the ancient depictions do not offer information on how this was done. There is though something to work from. The Byblos ships on Sahure's grave complex clearly show some kind of rope was used: The oars in the image above appear to be retracted and ropes are visible loosely coiled around them. An image of a Nile boat is a bit more clear: The oar here appears to be lowered in the water and the rope is clearly extended. It seems to be tied around the oar at the wale and near the paddle. Could it be that the rope held the rope near the paddle and formed an eye at the wale that the oar could slide through when retracted? That would allow the oar to be used, retracted on deck when not in use and held safely so that they don't fall overboard. I am not aware of any similar oar attachments in a more modern context, but with my limited experience this does not mean much. I have learned so much from everyone's responses to this thread, that I hope someone can offer more info. Meanwhile I am going with my hypothesis, but am willing to alter it in the light of more evidence 😀
  7. Thank you very much for the comments John, Mark and Christian! Indeed John, I had the same impression when I built the first one. It's something about that teardrop, pointy shape I guess. Now that's a great suggestion Mark. Along with the round stone weights, this could also explain what the archaeologists have come to call "small anchors". These are identical in shape to the large anchors, but are much smaller, too small to hold in place any kind of vessel. Once more, there are those archaeologists who have labelled those as temple offerings, or consecrated talismans for a safe voyage (once more the ritualistic acceptance of ignorance on the archaeologist's part). You have inspired me to add a "lowered" anchor, next to the bow, when the model is on it's base and include such a stone kellet on a secondary line attached to the main rope. Unfortunately this will have to wait, as the model will have to be boxed when completed, but before I make a base for it, anticipating a house move towards the end of the year. Thanks Christian! Growing up on the shores of the Mediterranean there were always stone weights and anchors around, some ancients ones, still being dragged out of the water now and then, and some used by fishermen even to this day.
  8. Thanks guys! Indeed, as John puts it, what on earth could they be if not that? Some writers have gone as far as calling them "bread offerings". A common practice in archaeology, if you don't know what it is for then it's probably ritualistic. Meanwhile onto the oars. Several depictions exist of ancient Egyptian oars and paddles and even some models found in tombs. Oars are almost always teardrop shaped. I decided to make mine from two pieces, cutting a slot to the shaft and adding a paddle with tapered edges. Luckily, for the sake of my sanity, this is nothing like a trireme, or Steven's beautiful dromon. Just 14 oars and 6 steering oars in total, all in all a couple of days work. The fact that a small ship with 14 oarsmen needed six steersmen probably shows how badly this ship handled under sail. Depictions show sailors literally hugging the steering oars, indicating that no tiller was attached to them like on later ships. I would think that the idea of attaching a tiller to the steering oars to get some leverage, when trying to steer the ship under sail, would be somewhat self evident, yet it seems that everything we take for granted had to be invented at some point. George
  9. This is an awesome build Steven! I am relatively new to the forum and just got around to finally reading this thread beginning to end yesterday and today. Really educational, both historically and technically. George
  10. Back to the regular programming indeed. And it is time for the mysterious and elusive "deck devices". At least that is what Landström calls them. Fact is nobody has the slightest idea what they were. The issue might be due to loss of information from the ancient depictions. Egyptians carved most of the shapes in stone. Then they used plaster to cover imperfections of the stone, or their own mistakes. Finally they painted finer details on the carving. Of all the above what survives today in most of the cases is just the stone carving, the plaster and paint having long detteriorated. All that survives of these devices is their basic shapes and the fact that they were tied with thick ropes and probably attached to long poles and/or the foot of the lowered mast. Landström's assumption is that they were stone weights that would be lifted with levers and attached to the foot of the lowered mast to weigh it down and help raise it, without having to pull the entire weight of the mast with ropes and risk one snapping, since dropping the heavy mast would probably damage the ship. I was initially a bit skeptical, as carrying heavy stones just to be able to easier raise the mast seemed a bit much. But when viewed in conjuction with ancient wrecks it seems more and more plausible. Most of the wrecks discovered carry an abundance of quite large perforated stones that arceaologists have labelled "anchors". They might well be anchors, since the ship needed stone ballast anyways and it is well known that to this day ships tend to lose a lot of anchors and spares are always needed. So why not ballast the ship with anchors if they are made of stone? And if you do, you might as well use a couple of the rounder ones to help you safely raise the mast. Since I liked working with the soapstone to make the anchors, I decided to go with this assumption and build the weights from sopastone two:
  11. Thanks Steven for all the incredibly interesting info! It was great making the connection that what I was actually working on is steatite! I come from Greece and have seen many steatite sculptures both from the Byzantine and the Minoan eras, but did not actually make the connection, even though the Greek names for the stone are exactly equivalent to the English (στεατίτης and σαπουνόπετρα). Having to think between languages does make you miss the obvious sometimes! The soapstone was soft but extremely dense, and it does allow for great detail, it did not break or flake at all, even when cut with saws or drilled very close to an edge. I also loved it's hardness, which is just right so that it is quite sturdy (much harder than chalk) but can easily be worked with steel blades, felt in fact a lot like the harder pieces of basswood. My name is George by the way, Hellmuht just had the kindness to quote me above. The nickname is Old English indeed, meaning injurious person, or something like that (like sceathena threatum in the first lines of Beowulf), it's the same root as the modern English scathing.
  12. Definitely worth it Hellmuht, it's a fun ship to built! The tripping line sounds like the perfect answer Keith! Goes to show that actual practical experience (i.e. in sailing) can give much more useful insights than archaeology, when studying technological subjects, such as ships. It is in fact such a good answer that it makes me think why other seagoing nations did not have such secondary holes in their anchors. One possible answer to this could be found in the fact that Egyptian anchors were much better made in every respect, with much more regular shapes. That could mean they were the only ones that actually pulled up the anchors when wanting to depart. With ships at the time being quite flimsy and anchors being crude pieces of readily available rocks, it could be that most nations preferred to cut the anchor if the weather was even a bit rough, rather than risking damage to the ship. One of the bronze age shipwrecks found along the coast of Turkey, seams to have been carrying more than 150 stone anchors. When anchors are made of stone it makes sense to ballast the ship with spare anchors, in that way if you have to cut one and leave the only thing you lament is the length of rope you loose. In this light, it might be that nations other than the Egyptians did not bother with using a tripping line, thus their anchors missing the secondary hole.
  13. Thanks again guys for the comments! I decided to take a break from wood and focus on the anchor. Now ancient anchors are a very rich subject. As they were made entirely or mostly from stone a lot of them have been discovered across the eastern Mediterranean. Several were also reused as building material or as temple offerings, so there really are more than enough well preserved samples around. Although anchor technology was pretty basic (cut a hole in a big stone and pass a rope through it), anchors from different nations had enough unique characteristics to allow us to easily classify them. I will, of course, focus on Egyptian anchors. Below is the plan of a characteristic Egyptian anchor that formed part of pedestal for a stele, from Shelley Wachsmann's Seagoing Ships and Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant: The basic characteristics of an Egyptian anchor were two: A secondary angled hole was dug near the base of the anchor, probably for a secondary rope that would probably allow for better handling of the anchor and better securing of it when on deck. A slightly angled base, to allow for the anchor to stand upright on an inclined foredeck. Now on to the building process. Since original anchors were stone, I decided to stay true to the method and carve my own from stone too. After looking around for appropriate pebbles and several failures (I began this even before I started building the ship), I came across a stone called French Soapstone by the merchants. It's apparently one of the minerals that talcum powder comes from and it carves beautifully. It's much harder than chalk, but carves easily with a steel blade. It's also incredibly dense without any pores or fault lines. Also quite nice looking, with a slight transparency and nice marble like grain. It's a particularly cheap stone, but it's widely used in stone carving, so there are a lot of small pieces, cutoffs from larger sculptures that are available online for next to nothing (that's how I got my flat slab). The only issue with carving it was the insane amount of dust (yes, much more and much finer than wood). Since I lack a proper den and am working inside the house, my wife was about to murder me, so I ended up filling a bucket with water and working with my hands submerged.

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