Ten years of excavations and nearly 4500 dives were
necessary to study, analyze, and reconstruct the structure of a shipwreck at
Villefranche-sur-mer, identified as the Genoese "nave" La
|The archeological study focused on the ship's structure as representation
of the Mediterranean tradition of construction methods and equipment: highly
interesting rudders, capstan, halyard ploughs, wedge pumps, port holes, and
powder storage. "Naves", ships with a large tonnage, were actually
the backbone of the Genoese fleet. They ensured transportation of heavy cargoes
on the Mediterranean, and with destinations in the North-West of Europe.|
The other purpose for the excavation was the study of artillery made of forged iron and affiliated equipment. Tubes, mobile breeches, gun carriages, shells, ignition sticks, rammers, spoons, and powder kegs were recovered and studied.
The drawing shows the hull intact, such as the excavators, working on successive slices, never saw it. Actually, the sections of the dig under study were again covered at the end of each campaign. In the center, one can see the pieces of artillery, the wheels of guncarriages, and the shots; the powder storeroom in front contained 21 caskets.
|The base of the great mast, as reconstructed here, bears unique witness to the tradition of Mediterranean construction of the great "round" ships of the Renaissance.|
|A large range of archeological objects was recovered, tracing the work and daily life of the sailors. Also found were some albarello jugs and majolica bowls.|
Excavation conducted by Max Guérout, Group for naval archeological research
(GRAN) in collaboration with Éric Rieth (CNRS)
and Jean-Marie Gassend (CNRS).
Web site of the Lomellina.
Photos : J.C. Hurteau, CNRS
Authorized reproduction only
Drawings by Noël Blotti with the kind permission of the magazine Géo.