Ship and limes

A unique time capsule

The jewel of Museum Hoge Woerd is the ship De Meern 1, excavated in Leidsche Rijn in 2003. This is the most complete Roman river craft ever discovered in north-west Europe. Unlike most vessels of its kind known from Roman times, it was not stripped bare and abandoned, but sunk while still in operation…

De Meern 1 was wrecked in a winding tributary of the Rhine around the year 190 AD, possibly due to navigational error. In consequence, much of the ship’s interior and captain’s personal belongings were preserved in the cabin, including a rare collection of tools. De Meern 1 therefore allows an extraordinary glimpse into life aboard a vessel that plied the inland waterways bordering the Roman Empire. The accompanying exhibit explains the role that vessels like these played in supplying the Roman border (limes).