Preliminary Study on the Depiction of Hulls on Medieval Ship Graffiti in the Mediterranean
Ship graffiti are by far the richest known body of iconographic evidence depicting ships. Almost every year, new studies on this subject appear in reports and publications of monuments. Some of these depictions are carefully executed, giving a lot of information concerning types of ships, maritime activities and even nautical events. Some of them are very simple or naïve, with very vague depictions of ships. In all of them, however, some basic elements are shown, which allow us to identify them as ships. These are mainly the hulls, sometimes with sails or oars.
Apart from the hulls' outline, more lines are often carved in the drawing. In these cases the 'artists' may have intended to depict specific materials, some structural or morphological details. Furthermore it seems that certain types of lines appear on ship graffiti from different periods and areas. For example, parallel lines following the sheer of the deck seem to represent strakes of the hull; vertical or oblique lines, extended bellow the outline of the hull, may represent the oars or the rudders; and, several other kind of lines, in zigzag, criss-cross or oblique forms, not extended beyond the outline of the hull, seem to depict some elements of the hull or the gunwale.
In this paper, I undertake a comparative study of different lines on ship graffiti hulls, recorded at various places in the Mediterranean. Apart from their interpretation, the aim is also to introduce a preliminary typology concerning the depiction of ship hulls.
University of Tennessee
On the same and nearby rocks there are some 1200 inscriptions (281 complete and 925 fragmentary), mostly simply stating that "I am so-and-so." Sometimes the inscriber added that he was a shepherd (poimen) or goatherd (aipolos). There is no vocabulary to suggest that any of the writing is dedicatory or symposiastic in nature. Letter forms, layout and orthography show that none of the writing can be dated after 500 BCE. In general, the ship depictions agree with this, as they find their best parallels in Attic Black Figure vases of the 6th century BCE.
In this paper we present an overview of the various types of ships and boats represented among these engravings, and we explore the possible meaning of these ship graffiti through contextual analysis. The spatial distribution of these graffiti is discussed in relation to those of other images and writing. We also consider their relationship to geographical and geological features as well as to known Archaic settlements, sanctuaries and other sites in these areas. We conclude that we are dealing with casual graffiti, cut at the whim of individuals.
Arts Academy of University Split, Croatia
Some of the ship graffiti indicate strong links to Cyprus, the southern coast of Turkey, the Aegean and Egypt, but many are lost or are preserved in very poor condition. As no comprehensive study of these ship graffiti has been carried out in Israel thus far, the purpose of this paper is to discuss their context, the types of vessels and their details (rigging and steering gear, building material) as well as their symbolism.
Seamen on Land: A Preliminary Analysis of Ship Graffiti on Cyprus
University of Cyprus
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the first results of a two-year research programme of the University of Cyprus, entitled 'KARAVOI: The Ship Graffiti on the Medieval and post-Medieval Monuments of Cyprus: Mapping, Documentation and Digitisation'. The project is funded by the Leventis Foundation and aims to contribute to the broader study of the maritime cultural landscape of Medieval Cyprus.
Having visited 170 monuments throughout the island, the KARAVOI team has recorded more than 200 nautical graffiti, dated mostly between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The types of ships varied significantly and were not always easy to identify. Nonetheless, some main groups could be distinguished: small boats or one-mast coasters without particular details, western Mediterranean cog-shaped ships, Ottoman galleys and nineteenth century merchantmen. The geographical distribution of the monuments with ship graffiti, on the roads connecting urban centres and monasteries, is indicative of some interesting patterns regarding the identity of the carvers and the interpretation of the graffiti themselves. Thus, and thanks to the broad chronological and geographical spectrum of the research, the graffiti collected allow for a more comprehensive analysis of the ship graffiti phenomenon on the island.
Ship Graffitti and their Setting: the case of St. George Teratsiotis near Avgorou, Cyprus
The documentation of the Teratsiotis graffiti for the purposes of the KARAVOI project provided an optimal case study for the implementation of advanced imaging and visualization. The utilization of digital tools and applications has been a central part of the project's effort to propose and establish a new methodology for the analysis, study and preservation of maritime graffiti. In this framework, this paper offers a preliminary attempt at a holistic methodological approach to a single monument preserving ship graffiti. The results of this interdisciplinary effort, which included Reflectance Transformation Imaging, Photogrammetry and Drone photography, 3D scanning, provides the basis for some preliminary thoughts on aspects of the historical, architectural, artistic and topographical context of the church's maritime graffiti.
Department of Humanities, University Ca' Foscari of Venice
Within the context of the program KARAVOI, it was possible to survey and document a large number of monuments, collecting not only nautical graffiti, but also other drawings and inscriptions. This paper considers all the non-nautical graffiti collected from the surveyed sites, focusing on Greek and Latin inscriptions. Considering them on a local and regional scale, it is possible to define their distribution and integrate the information provided by the texts. The combination of these two sources – written accounts and graffiti – provides a starting point for tracing inland routes that were in use during the Medieval and pre-modern periods. Furthermore, the study of the graffiti can provide interesting insights into the differences between Latin and Greek approaches to the churches, something that adds to our understanding of these buildings' function throughout their history.
University of Cyprus
A Digital Imaging Methodology for the Recording of Maritime Graffiti in Cyprus
The Cyprus Institute
The University of Cyprus
The application of Reflectance Transformation Imaging Technology (RTI), a computational photographic method, has offered great possibilities for research as well as for the documentation and digital preservation of cultural heritage objects and works of art across the world.
In the context of the KARAVOI project and in collaboration with the University of Cyprus, the Imaging Cluster for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (ICACH) at the Cyprus Institute has developed and integrated a digital imaging methodology, i.e. a workflow process that includes the on-site elaboration of the RTI method, at the monastery of Ayios Georgios Teratsiotis, Avgorou, the churches of Ayia Marina, Frenaros, and Panayia Aggeloktisti, Kiti, as well as the mansion of Hatzigiorgakis Kornesios in the old city of Nicosia. This methodology also incorporates the process of extrapolating "meaningful" ship and related graffiti from RTI datasets by using post-processing tools for digital tracing, thus allowing for the contextualization of surfaces and hence the creation of a "digital graffiti map" of the monuments.
Such computational photographic methods are integrated and confronted with traditional methods of documentation (film-base tracing), while the pros and cons of each of the methods are explored. Consequently, computational methods provide a new medium for the documentation of graffiti that renders "prosthetic knowledge" and offers the opportunity to use digital workflows that are scientifically accurate and less subjective to in-situ interpretation. RTI, in particular, offers high dynamic range illumination end-result, flexibility, low-end digital portability, interoperability and open access without the use of commercial software to "datasets" that encapsulate a wide spectrum of information.
Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece
Amongst the finds a unique medieval sherd preserves a detailed and rather accurate depiction of a galley under oars and sails. The form of the ship corresponds to the typology of fifteenth century galleys, as known through western and eastern iconographic sources. Nevertheless, this is not the only ship graffiti from the site. On the hill of Paleoekklisies, inside the fourteenth-century church of the Assumption, carved on the painted wall, another ship graffito survives, this time much larger but less detailed; its dating, however, remains obscure.
During this period, i.e. at the turn from the long Venetian occupation to the Ottoman rule, Euboea (Negroponte) and its maritime connections are of great interest and these finds shed light on the types of ships that frequented the Euboean Gulf.
Head of the Central Department of Underwater Antiquities, Egypt
Maritime Activity in Nineteenth Century Akko as Reflected in Graffiti of ships
Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
Graffiti of ships may be used, with due caution, as a source of information, as in the case of the four ship graffiti presented in this study: a ship incised into a building stone in the Hammam al-Pasha, Akko; and three ships depicted on the walls of the Bahá'í mansion in the village of Mazra'ih, near Akko. An analysis of the graffiti of the ships is presented, focusing on their structural features and suggested type of ships, as well as on their suggested date and contribution to the maritime history of Akko.
The combined data of the four ships, jointly with information about ships plying the seas near Akko during the first half of the nineteenth century, suggest that the graffiti depict frigates. As such, these ship graffiti provide additional evidence for the involvement of frigates in maritime activities near Akko at that time.
Nautical graffiti of Majorca Island. A summary
Arqueología Urbana Gestiones de patrimonio, Mallorca
The Institute of the History of Material Culture
Russian Academy of Science
There are also several schematic ship graffiti on Arab dirhams found on Russian territory, dated to the ninth and tenth centuries. Some of them have analogies to graffiti from Medieval Bulgaria and could be connected with historical events, such as the campaign of the Russian prince Svyatoslav together with a Scandinavian military group, during the occupation of the Bulgarian centres of Pliski and Preslav in 968-969 AD.
Whether there were any contacts between north Russia and Byzantium or the Arab East in the middle of the eighth century is still unclear. Considering the geographic position of medieval Russia and its role in historical events of the Black sea region, researchers assumed that the development of Russian shipbuilding had influences from the Byzantine Empire. However, no evidence of such influence has been found in the archaeological record thus far.
Archive of the Hanseatic town of Wismar
In this paper, a collection of important iconographic evidence from the Mediterranean is presented, including more and less known images. A comparative analysis is also attempted between depictions from the Mediterranean and northern Europe, taking into consideration recent discussions about shipbuilding tradition during this period as well as related sections from written sources.