Posts Tagged ‘Vasa’

Recording an orlop deck

// July 15th, 2010 // No Comments » // Fieldwork Projects, Other archaeological projects

Extreme Total stationing on the orlop deck of Vasa

This summer MAP students had the unique opportunity to spend two weeks at the Vasa Museum, working on recording the Vasa’s orlop deck.

After a sleepy drive from Esbjerg to Stockholm, we were met at the museum by Dr. Fred Hocker, the Director of Research. We were to stay on the icebreaker Sankt Erik and the minesweeper M20. Bright and early on the following Monday morning we were divided into two teams to work in the bow and stern sections. Our team -Team Fred- worked in the forward part of the orlop, while the other team -Team Jens- worked in the bow. Both teams were recording the deck with a combination of drawing and total station.

Working on the orlop deck was a challenge, as the low headroom and compartments made using the total station difficult. Each team found themselves sub divided into total station and drawing teams, rotating every day. Three people worked on the total station, and unlike Team Jens we did not have the luxury of a laser pointer! Despite the lack of headroom, lack of handy laser and continuous repositioning of the station, Andrew, Marja and Sara of Team Fred broke the record for the most number of total station points taken in one day. The rest of the team drew the interior of the bow compartment and Amanda got the challenge of recording the cupolas of the quarter galleries.

The remaining four paired up to draw and measure to supplement the digital data, especially as we were conscious that we might not have time to cover all areas with the total station, and some, like sections inside the bow compartment, could not recorded at all other than with drawing and measuring. We all acquired new skills and techniques, especially ducking, sideways walking, early mornings (we are students, after all…) and Swedish total station menus!

We would like the thank Fred Hocker (and Jens) for making the field school possible, and for the privilege of being able to work on the Vasa – even if the bruises on our skulls are not so appreciative! We all got the opportunity to use skills learnt in the programme and learnt new ones. We had a great time in Stockholm, which was both pretty and interesting. The boys definitely want to thank Fred for his hospitality on the night of the football match as well!!!

Sylvia Bates & Maria Lindberg

Rigging the Vasa

// April 20th, 2009 // No Comments » // Maritime Archaeology Masters Programme

On Thursday and Friday, the 12-13 March, the students of the Maritime Archaeology Programme were given a two day seminar in rigging sailing vessels. All the way from Sweden came Vasa’s rigging expert, sea captain Olof Pipping, and along with him was a 1:10 model of the top deck and masts of the Vasa ship.

Olof & the model

Olof & the model

Even though the replica was only 1:10, this did not make the model small by any means, seeing that the Vasa’s actual size was 69 metres long and 52.5 metres high and with a tonnage of ca. 1,200 tonnes. It was a warship built for the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus and was supposed to be one of the pride ships in the Swedish navy. Instead the ship sank only minutes into its maiden voyage 10 August 1628.

Students at work

Students at work

We concentrated on raising the main mast and the main topmast situated amidships and then we dressed these with sails. Accuracy was a must to be able to direct the pieces of timber and yards in-between all the different lines and poles already standing. We also quickly learned the importance of teamwork and obeying to the captain orders. It was definitely a new experience to see how one can actually rig a large sailing ship only using rope and a variety of different tackles. Even though we “only” raised the masts and sails on the model, Olof assured us that rigging the actual Vasa was done in the same way, with little extra aids.

Students at work

Students at work

During the course of the two days of rigging, the lower part of the main mast was ready for launching and as a special treat we were also shown what it would be like to sail the Vasa. With the time taken to rig the model, one can only imagine the amount of work it must have taken to rig the actual ship, with the top of the mast of the Vasa rising to 52 m over the ship’s keel. At the end of the day this is a great way of learning and a good alternative to reading articles alone.

Students at work

Students at work

You can also find a video of our rigging seminar here!

Marja-Liisa Petrelius Grue