Two partially processed trunks, which were supposed to be so-called monoxyls, i.e. boats intended for navigation on the Elbe River, were found during the construction of a hospital in Hradec Králové. Their age is not yet known.
Each of the trunks is 11 meters long and both together weigh 25 tons. Archaeologists found them quite by accident near the old riverbed of the Elbe in Hradec Králové. They were preserved at a depth of two meters with gravel, sand and clay. This is precisely the reason why they have lasted in such a state until today.
The trunks are most likely oak and, unlike previously discovered similar boats, are not yet finished. Archaeologists see a complete European uniqueness in this. “This will show us how the work was done,” said Radek Bláha, an archaeologist from the Museum of Eastern Bohemia.
The age has not yet been determined. They may come from the younger Stone Age, which would mean that they are as old as ten thousand years. But they can date back to the eighth century AD. A 3D model created from hundreds of photos of partially hewn trunks will also help to determine. Enthusiasts from the archeological park in Všestary near Hradec Králové are investigating how such a monoxyl floated on water, how it steered and what speed it developed.
“On the last voyage, there was a crew of 20 plus a helmsman. We were able to sail at a speed of five kilometers per hour, with the sail and waves behind us even seven kilometers per hour,” said Radomír Tichý from the University of Hradec Králové. His team has already completed four sea expeditions on self-hewn boats with stone tools.