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stepping stones of maritime history


This is one of the wrecks of a local type of pram, known as Kaffenkahn (literally: prow pram), named after the characteristic shape of the rising prow. These type of prams operated on the lakes, rivers and canals in the hinterland of Berlin, supplying the metropolis with rural commodities.

The wreck has been linked to a local newspaper article in Teltower Kreisblatt (29. August 1886), which reports about the loss of the vessel and its skipper, wife and son, who rushed into the deckhouse to recover valuables when the vessel started to sink, but instead went down with the vessel and drowned. A deckhand was reportedly the sole survivor, who could reach the lakeshore swimming.


The wreck still features the rudder and a mast-step. It is loaded with brick-stones.

Oleksiy Konovalov

People on board4


The wreck has been (and still is) studied and monitored by a diving association of professional and amateur archaeologists called the Kaffenkahn e.V.

Especially the long-term monitoring sheds a light on the state of preservation and decay, influenced by both natural and anthropogenic impacts.


  • Kaffenkahn e.V.
  • Deutsche Welle.
    Exploring the history of sunken “Kaffenkahn” barges.
  • Reinfeld, M. (2010).
    Neue Untersuchungen an den brandenburgischen Kaffenkähnen.
    Nachrichtenblatt Arbeitskreis Unterwasserarchäologie 16, 72-76.
  • Reinfeld, M. (2018).
    Forschung vor der Haustür. Die Pfahlbauten und Kaffenkähne im Werbellinsee.
    In: B. Schiller, K. Müller (eds.), Von Kreta nach Kuba. Gedenkschrift zu Ehren von Veit Stürmer (Berlin: Logos), pp. 469-482.

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