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Virtual reconstruction of Puck's medieval harbour created - video

Not one, but three ports existed in medieval Puck, as determined by underwater archaeologists from the Centre for Underwater Archaeology of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. They operated one after another, from the 10th to the 14th century. Experts have prepared a film animation of the one that existed during the reign of Bolesław
Published: November 24, 2019 - 11:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 18:52
Virtual reconstruction of Puck’s medieval harbour created – video

Not one, but three ports existed in medieval Puck, as determined by underwater archaeologists from the Centre for Underwater Archaeology of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. They operated one after another, from the 10th to the 14th century. Experts have prepared a film animation of the one that existed during the reign of Bolesław Krzywousty.

The harbour in Puck is considered to be one of the oldest on current Polish territory. Scientists believe that it was probably built and used by early medieval Slavic tribes, who were in contact with the Scandinavians. Although the first traces of maritime activity in this place date back to late prehistory.

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Relics of the port were discovered over 40 years ago at the bottom of the Puck Bay. Only now, thanks to the use of a wide range of methods, have scientists learned about its fate.

“It turned out that in fact we are not dealing with one port, but with three that existed throughout the history of Puck,” Professor Andrzej Pydyn from the Centre for Underwater Archaeology at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń tells PAP. The scientist is the head of the “Virtual Arch” project, the aim of which is to produce a comprehensive documentation of the relics of the port and its visualisation from the funds of the EU programme Interreg Central Europe. The city of Puck is a partner in this undertaking.

According to the scientist, the main task of the ports was to maintain contact with the peoples living in Scandinavia. “Perhaps slaves were transported north on the boats. The Piast state built its power, among other things, on human trafficking”. – adds the archaeologist. A lot of fragments of ceramic vessels typical for Slavic peoples were also found within the harbours. “However, we do not know what was stored and transported in them,” emphasizes the scientist.

The first port functioned in the times of Mieszko I in the 10th century. The wharf structures, piers and also the wreck have survived. Archaeologists are unable to establish clearly to whom the sunken vessel belonged – the construction elements have both Slavic and Viking features.

Then, east of the first harbour, in the 12th century, during the reign of Bolesław Krzywousty, other harbour constructions were built. Unfortunately, their relics were partly destroyed in the 20th century. As part of the project, a digital visualisation of the port from that period was created.

This was made possible by combining archival data from past excavations with additional underwater surveys using probes and other measuring devices.

The 12th-century port was oval in outline and built on a sea outcrop – it was surrounded by water on all sides and had bridges or causeways leading to the mainland. It covered an area of two hectares. Its ramparts were made in the form of box constructions. The place also served as a settlement – sailors could also stay overnight and live there. “We do not know of any other settlement in the Puck area from that period, so it seems highly probable,” adds Prof. Pydyn.

Closest to the mouth of the Plutnica River, relics of a construction dating by scientists to the 13th/14th century have been preserved. It was a fishing station given to the Oliwa monastery by Prince Mściwój. Right next to it lie two shipwrecks. These are the remains of Slavic boats from the late Middle Ages.

The early medieval port of Puck was finally abandoned and flooded after 4 centuries of existence by the constantly rising waters of the Baltic Sea. As Prof. Pydyn explains, it was not a one-off event, but a long-term process. In 1348, Puck was granted town rights and was located on the site of the present market square.

Source: naukawpolsce.pap.pl

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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