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stepping stones of maritime history


During anexcavation in 2011 in an early medieval settlement in Naaldwijk the blade was found in a well. The well was dated to the Merovingian period (7th century).

Probably the blade was usedin a small rowing vessel that was propelledby one manlike a modern scull with two oars. The oars were connected to a boat by means of rowlocks tholes.

Ship finds from the Merovingian period are extremely rare. A recent find (2010) in Holland was The Vleuten 1 dating from the 8th century.It was an expanded logboat. Log boats are relativity small and probably rowed with oars like the one that was found in Naaldwijk.


Merovingian Logboat Vleuten 1 in situ.

The well and the blade in situ (Source: ADC archeologie).


Blade of an oar. The rowing blade was made of alder and measures ca. 48 cm.
The shape of the blade is surprisingly modern: Symmetric, elliptical with a ridge line running down the center of the blade just as in modern Macon blades.
The blade is unique in Europe and is the First blade from the Merovingian period.

Naaldwijk blade (source: ADC Archeologie).

Mmacon blades in action.

Naaldwijk rowing blade

The blade front and back (Source : ADC archeologie).


After excavation the blade was conservated and preserved in laboratory of the ADC in Amersfoort.


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