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Wreck of a prehistoric boat found at the bottom of Lake Constance

In the waters of Lake Constance, archaeologists have found the wreck of a prehistoric boat dating back 4,000 years. Experts have already carried out a preliminary examination of the find and secured the site. The excavation process has also begun. A team of archaeologists working at the site has begun to excavate a prehistoric fishing
Published: April 6, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:17
Wreck of a prehistoric boat found at the bottom of Lake Constance

In the waters of Lake Constance, archaeologists have found the wreck of a prehistoric boat dating back 4,000 years. Experts have already carried out a preliminary examination of the find and secured the site. The excavation process has also begun.

A team of archaeologists working at the site has begun to excavate a prehistoric fishing boat from the bottom of Lake Constance. The boat, found near Seerhein and dating back more than 4000 years, is undoubtedly a real mystery. So far, all that is known is its dimensions, the fact that it was made of lime wood and… not much else.

Boat wreck from 4,000 years ago cleared by archaeologist
Underwater archaeologist during the cleaning of a prehistoric boat wreck photo F. Huber / submaris

Undoubtedly measuring 8 metres long, the wreck will now go a long way before it becomes a museum exhibit. Currently specialists they are working on the excavation are extracting the object from the bottom of Lake Constance. The whole process will probably take the next few weeks.

wreck of a prehistoric boat seen from the air
Aerial view of the wreck of a trawler ship Photo: P. Scherrer / LAD

Next, the wreck of the prehistoric boat will go to the conservation workshop of the State Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments. Here it will undergo a series of cleaning and conservation procedures, which will certainly take several years. All this in order to preserve the object before it is destroyed and to enable its future display in the museum.

archaeological diver uncovering the wreck of a 4000 year old dredger
Archaeologists clean the wreck and prepare to bring it to the surface photo F. Huber / submaris

This trawler is undoubtedly the oldest vessel from Lake Constance that we know of to date. The find therefore underlines the extraordinary importance of the basin as an archaeological treasure tro ve for our country. We are all the more excited about the results of further research,” stressed State Secretary Katrin Schütz

The researchers now intend to create a highly detailed three-dimensional photogrammetric documentationphotographic and film documentation. The prehistoric boat will then be transferred to a restoration workshop.

Bird's eye view of the remains of a dredger in the lake
Archaeological site with an aerial view of the dugout canoe photo F. Huber / submaris

In contrast to the oak woodwreck found near Wasserburg in the Bavarian part of Lake Constance, the linden wreck from Seerhein cannot be recovered in one piece. Because lime wood is too brittle and too soft, underwater archaeologists are working hand in hand with restoration experts to save this magnificent monument, said district president Wolfgang Reimer

Finding of the dugout canoe

Employees of the State Historic Preservation Office found the wreck of a prehistoric boat in Seerhein near Constance in autumn 2018. As a result of a preliminary examination carried out at the site, it was determined that it was a hollow-boat. Thanks to find the use of Lake Constance as a waterway or fishing site can be documented for the first time.

Archaeologist working on an underwater site
No other traces of settlements have been found in the vicinity which could explain the presence of the dugout canoe photo F. Huber / submaris

Archaeologists are still uncertain as to the origin of the prehistoric hulk at the bottom of the lake. No traces of settlements from the transition period between the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age have been discovered nearby so far, which could explain its origin. There are no other archaeological remains in the area associated with the wreck, as shown by preliminary surveys carried out in 2019 and 2020.

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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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