Hulks found near Tallinn lived on as construction material

Wrecks of ships found near the shoreline in Tallinn are keeping archaeologists busy and show that ship materials have been reused for centuries.

Research fellow at the Estonian Maritime Museum Priit Lätti said that ship materials were used in construction back in the Middle Ages. When a ship had reached the end of its lifespan, everything still usable was sawn off and reused – timber, sails, ropes and metal.

Hulks that were beached on purpose have been discovered in Tallinn.

"In a situation where both ships and dock structures were made of wood, fire was among the chief concerns. We know that ships that caught fire were towed out of the harbor to keep the fire from spreading and allowed to drift onto the beach," Lätti said.

A month ago, construction workers found a part of a hull on Kiikri street near Kadriorg from which all usable timber had been sawn off just above the waterline.

Ship construction was skilled work and the materials valuable. The hulk continued to be of use after being decommissioned – archaeologists have also found details used in shipbuilding in Tallinn's Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats).

"We have found rivets that we believe were used in shipbuilding. It does not mean the sea used to reach up there, simply that details from ships were later reused," Lätti used.

Tallinn became a military port when the land became part of the Russian Empire in the early 18th century.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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