Mediterranean Ship Design in the Middle Ages

Eric Rieth

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Mediterranean Ship Design in the Middle Ages


‘Design’ is associated with the act of creation. The design of a ship encompasses the various ways of thinking about a ship according to its method and materials of construction, and according to the economic conditions of the period, the social context, the status of the shipbuilder, and so on. This article examines the characteristics of medieval naval architecture. The architectural approach to understand the design of the ship is marked on two principal levels: the actual structure of the hull, and the processes of building it. It explores the design methods used by the Mediterranean shipbuilders of the Middle Ages. The knowledge of design of a ship relies on collective dimension and through the restitution of the history of remains, the process of archaeological study leads to the history of the ship or the boat, to the point of its design.

Keywords: ship design; methods of construction; materials of construction; naval architecture; design methods; architectural approach

Article.  8360 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Industrial Archaeology

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