Zwammerdam 2 – an outsider?

Zwammerdam 2 – an outsider?

The restoration started in 2017 with the archaeological wood of the flat-bottomed Zwammerdam 2, the ship that named this fleet. Nearly 23 meters long and 2.80 meters wide, built in the early 3rd century. Beautiful solid Belgian oak, but in many pieces. Plank by plank, the Zwammerdam 2 has been cleaned and assembled. The Solarium in the Roman part of Museum Park Archeon was cleared to serve as a restoration yard, with public information on all sides. Public interest was well underway when more and more archaeological wood was placed in the specially made frame. The ship can now be admired in its entirety, because the missing parts have also found their place.

rondleiding Tom Zwammerdam 2 - 6 mei 2022.JPGPhoto: former involved people of the excavations, listening to Yardeni Vorst (l) and Tom Hazenberg (r).

According to restoration leader Yardeni Vorst, the Zwammerdam 2 is a special ship: "The Zwammerdam 4 is the oldest (97 AD), largest and heaviest. The '6' comes next in age and weight (3rd quarter of the 2nd century) and the '2' is the youngest (1st quarter of the 3rd century). The ships have become lighter and planks have become more narrow. The '4' and the '6' look a little more alike than the '2'. And the '2' doesn't really look like much as a ship that was found in Druten and is also 3rd century, just like the '2'. The Zwammerdam 2 is a flat-bottomed boat that deviates, just as if someone thought "let's do this one differently".

Connections and log holes
The Zwammerdam 2 has trusses that are somewhat squarer and the whole is put together with both wooden pins and iron nails. In other ships of this type, only nails are used for the connections between the ship's surface and the frames.

It is striking that Zwammerdam 2 has many triangular log holes in the underside of the trusses (see photo). These log holes run across all seams of the ship and are even fitted above the angled plank weld seams. In other ships of this type there are not so many log holes and they are also different in shape. The Zwammerdam 2 has an angle at the back and the front of the ship, which is also different from the other ships.”


It was a big surprise when an enormous rudder was found in ground layer near the Zwammerdam 2, in October 1973. The oak colossus consists of three pieces of wood, measuring 5.15 meters in length. The blade is 2.35 meters. In the exhibition space is a replica of the rudder.

stuurriem in elkaar gezet.jpg

Rowing device
The suspicion that the Zwammerdam 2 might have had a rowing device was confirmed when part of the gunwale was recovered. Historical shipbuilders Wouter Schalk and Alexander de Vos then made a new gunwale with oars for the missing part of the ship. The current modern oars will be replaced by oars after the Roman example, made of ash wood that was delivered spring 2022.

Mast beam
The mast and mast beam of the Zwammerdam 2 have not been excavated, nor have they been found. However, it is very likely that they did exist. That is why it was decided to install a mast beam. It is made after a copy of the mast beam of the Zwammerdam 4, only narrower and made of one plank instead of two. In addition, a footrest has been added, a single slat across the width of the ship: in a different dark colour to mark it as a modern interpretation. Yardeni Vorst: “This makes rowing so much easier and more powerful. Our assumption is that the builders could also have made this support. But this has not (yet) been proven.”

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