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VIRTUAL - Tie It Firmly, Bind It Fast: The Roman-Era Northwestern Adriatic Sewn Boat Tradition

March 11, 2021 @ 7:30 pm EST Eastern Time

This is an online event.

AIA Society: Rochester

Lecturer: Staci Willis

In the river systems and along the coast of the northwestern Adriatic Sea, a distinct tradition of sewn boatbuilding persisted from the Roman late Republic through the Imperial period, with definitive evidence between the 2nd century BC and the 6th century AD. This sewn tradition of boatbuilding is not only present in the northwestern Adriatic, but overshadows the archaeological record in this region during this timeframe, presenting a unique nautical landscape as compared to the broader Mediterranean world, which was dominated by boats and ships constructed using mortise-and-tenon joinery. The Northwestern Adriatic sewn boat tradition also coincided with Rome’s imperial expansion across the Mediterranean world, making these hull remains a last echo of a community of builders practicing their craft within a context of increasing external pressures to adopt “Roman” customs. As such, the preservation of this tradition of boatbuilding, the active participation by the builders in an indigenous form of craftsmanship, is a maritime reflection of the tensions that were playing out all over the Roman world. This lecture explores the tradition of sewn boatbuilding in the northwestern Adriatic as a representation of a community of builders who actively and intentionally preserved their inheritance as a facet of their identity, through the twists and strokes and passes of cord that bound together more than just a boat.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Willis, Staci and Massimo Capulli. 2018. “Bottoms Up! The Corte Cavanella II Laced Boat.” INA Quarterly 45(1/2): 9-13.

Willis, Staci and Massimo Capulli. 2014. “Putting the Pieces Together: The Laced Timbers of the Venice Lido III Assemblage.” INA Quarterly 40(1): 10-15.

Steffy Lecture

This lecture was postponed from February 25, 2021.

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March 11, 2021
7:30 pm EST
Event Category:


Michael Simson


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