Cais do Sodré Ship

Lisbon, Portugal

Citation information: Filipe Castro, "The Cais do Sodré Ship",, last updated in February 2008.

2001 and 2002 Field Seasons in Lisbon


The objective of the 2002 field season was the completion of the inked 1/10 scale final drawings, which were expected to be finished at the ShipLab during the month of September of that same year.

However, since the 2001 field season's objectives were largely achieved and even surpassed, we decided to aim for a complete set of inked drawings of all 37 frames.

All work developed according to our planning, and the first drafts of all 37 frames, inked and finished on the computer were sent to Lisbon by late August, corrected almost immediately by project director Paulo Rodrigues, and the corrections - on two frames only - sent back to Lisbon on the first week of September. 

In the summer of 2001 the objective had been to make 1/1 scale drawings of all pre-designed frames.  However, much more was achieved, and by the end of the summer all 37 frames had been fully recorded at a 1/1 scale.

Although we had considered sending all the 1/1 drawings to Texas A&M University so that the 1/10 scale and the final drawings could be completed during the following year, the idea was abandoned in view of the volume and weight of the 1/1 scale drawings.

Nevertheless, eight full sets of 1/1 scale drawings, totaling 30 large sheets of plastic, were sent to Texas to be finished at the ShipLab (Table I).

Table I

Frames finished at Texas A&M University

















Although the possibility of scanning and reducing the drawings in computers was considered at first, this solution was abandoned.  Both its price and the limits to the size of the largest plastic sheets posed by the scanners available made it much easier to reduce the drawings on the drafting board.  The reduction of 1/1 to 1/10 scale was performed by placing the 1/1 scale drawings over a grid with 1x1 cm squares, and transfer the lines to sheets of engineering paper.

The biggest advantage of this solution proved to be the re-examination of each drawing that it entailed.  Since recording old timbers at a 1/1 scale in a large and uncomfortable warehouse can be a long, boring, and repetitive experience to many students, sometimes details go unnoticed or unrecorded.  The process of putting together four views of each timber at a smaller scale demands attention to details, and many missed details are noticed in this process.

Once the recording of these eight frames was finished, they were sent to Paulo J. Rodrigues in Lisbon for comparison with the actual frames.  The immediate conclusion taken was that is was impossible to achieve a good standard at the ShipLab, because 1/1 scale drawings often missed small details and sometimes even some important features.

It was decided to finish all 1/10 drawings at Lisbon, next summer, in front of the actual timbers.  Because of the degree of degradation of the timbers, which by the summer of 2002 had been out of their undisturbed archaeological bed for seven hard years, pictures and sketches made in 1995 and 1997 were used to verify certain features.  In some cases carpenter's marks had faded almost completely away and were reconstructed on the drawings from pictures and sketches taken during and immediately after the initial excavation.