Basic Rigging Chronology

 Under Construction!

Date Event Image Comment Source
50,000 BC Colonization of Australia


Archaeological finds Bellwood 1979, 38-43.
11,000 BC Sailing in the Mediterranean


Obsidian from Melos in SE Peloponnese Franchthi Cave Cherry 1990, 193.
3500 c. BC First depiction of a sail (square)

Egypt - Pot from the Gerzean period. Probably not Egyptian, as the ship has high prow and stern, looking more like Mesopotamian Bass 1972, 12-13
3000 c. BC Stone buildings and plank boats


Egypt Casson 1994, 15
2500 c. BC Rowing and tiller bar


Egypt Casson 1994, 19
2450 c. BC Seagoing ships with hogging trusses and bipod masts

Egypt - Relief in Sahure pyramid. Casson 1994, 22
2000 c. BC Low aspect sail

Egypt Casson 1994, 36
1900 c. BC Pole mast stepped amidships

Egypt Casson 1994, 20
1500 c. BC Seagoing ships with pole masts

Egypt - Hatshepsut tomb relief Casson 1994, 24
1400 c. BC Round ships. Sails still have booms.

Egypt - Painting in tomb in Thebes Casson 1994, 37
1190 c. BC Loose-footed square sail


Relief on the temple of Ramses III. Casson 1994, 24
510 c. BC Brails

Athenian cup in the British Museum Casson 1994, 44-46
480 c. BC Artemon mast

Etruscan tomb in Tarquinia Casson 1994, 44-46
400's BC Large merchantmen: ten-thousenders


Greece Casson 1994, 121
230 c. BC Syracuse: three masts


Description by Atheneus Casson 1994, 122
  Sails (leather): ships of the Veneti


100's Lateen rig

Tombstone found in the Piraeus, now in Athens, dated to the 2nd century. Casson 1994, 118
200 c. Sprit rig

Tombstone, Istanbul Casson 1994, 116
200 c. Leather sail?

Relief in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Trier, Germany. Battens suggest a leather sail. Casson 1994, 135
400 c. Yassiada II Shipwreck

500 c. Tantura A Shipwreck

510 c. Square sail

Last representation of a square sail in the Mediterranean. Dated to 504-526. Church of Sant Apollinare Nuovo. Ravena. Casson 1994,
600-625 St. Gervais II Shipwreck      
625 c, Yassiada I      
sec IX Two-masted lateener   Representation in Greek manuscript Carbonell Relat s/d, 28
800 c. Tantura F Shipwreck      
850 c. Sails (square) in Viking ships: Gokstad Ship     Casson 1994, 147
850 c. Square sails in the Mediterranean?

Representations of a square sails in Carolingian manuscripts. Haywood 1999, 180 and Cassagnes-Brouquet 2003, 28-29.(1)
874 c. Bozburun Shipwreck      
900 c. Agay A Shipwreck      
900 c. Agay B Shipwreck      
900 c. Bateguier Shipwreck      
115.... Central rudder: Kolerup cog      
1025 c. Serçe Limani Shipwreck      
1150-1200 Central rudder: iconography   Relief Winchester Cathedral Casson 1994, 153

Earliest representation of a square sail in the Mediterranean after the 5th century. Church in Pec. Bellabarba
  First mention of a caravel - Genoa     Ciciliot 2005
  Carracks with two masts   Alfonso X, Las siete partidas Carbonell Relat s/d, 28
  FIRST COCCHE iconography?      
1200 's three-masted lateener   "St. Mark approaching Egypt", mosaic, Basilica of St. Mark, Venice. Casson 1964, 78
1226 Mention of a caravel in Portugal   Foral de Gaia? Elb 1986, 546
1438 Caravels built for the king of Burgundy     Paviot 1989, 309
1300 c. Contarina I Ship      
1310-1350 Painting by Paolo Veneziano w/ skeleton first

  Bash 1972, fig. 12
1300-1325 Culip VI Shipwreck

1336-1338 Quadra-latina

Painting "dal Buon Governo" by Ambrosio Lorenzetti, in the Pinacoteca di Siena. Bellabarba 1999, 85
c. 1350 The word carrack appears in the North, referring to the cocche.     Friel 1995, 159
1353 Catalonian contract mentioning a quadra-latina     Friel 1995, 158
1367 Iconography of a quadra-latina     Friel 1995, 158
1300-1350 Bonnets     Friel 1995, 159
1350 c. Les Sorres X shipwreck      
1400 Flanders: coca with three rudders (1 central and 2 lateral ones)     Carbonell Relat s/d, 29
1400 c. Logonovo Ship      
1409 Foremast in Catalonian drawing: first representation of a three-masted, ship-rigged ship

  Mott 1997, 146
1410 First quadra-latina in England: a Genoese carrack captured by pirates, Sancta Maria & Sancta Brigida     Friel 1995, 159
1416 Balinger Anne, built w/ two masts in England     Friel 1995, 159
1416-1418 Grace Dieu built (w/ 3 masts?)     Friel 1995, 159
  Carvel in England      
1425 Northern ship with two masts   Salterio? Of Henry V of England  
1425 c. Portuguese three-masted ship

Deep plate, possibly made in Spain. Victoria and Albert Museum. Landstrom
1435 Foremast in N. Europe     Friel 1995, 160
1441 Flanders: two Llenys with three rudders (1 central and 2 lateral ones)     Carbonell Relat s/d, 29
1450 Flanders: Caravel with three rudders (1 central and 2 lateral ones)     Carbonell Relat s/d, 29
1453 Flanders: Caravel with three rudders (1 central and 2 lateral ones)     Carbonell Relat s/d, 29
1459 Flanders: Caravel with three rudders (1 central and 2 lateral ones)     Carbonell Relat s/d, 29
1463 Flanders: one Barca with three rudders (1 central and 2 lateral ones)     Carbonell Relat s/d, 29
1465 Flanders: Lleny with three rudders (1 central and 2 lateral ones)     Carbonell Relat s/d, 29
1465 c. Main Topmast


 Italian engraving dated to 1470-1480. Friel 1995, 160
1465 c. Spritsail yard     Friel 1995, 160
1470 's, late Bonaventure mast and outrigger     Friel 1995, 160
1475 c. Stern panel in painting in Catalonia   Church of San Pedro de Zumaia Casado Soto 1995, 40
1492 Columbus arrives in America      
1495 c. Foretopmast - Regent     Friel 1995, 170
1495 c. Main topgallant - Regent     Friel 1995, 170
1498 Vasco da Gama arrives in India      
1500 c. Gun ports     Bass 1972,
1510 Mary Rose built     Friel 1995, 170
1514 c. Mizzen topmast   Henry Grace a Dieu Friel 1995, 170
1514 c. Mizzen topgallant   Henry Grace a Dieu Friel 1995, 170
1514 c. Bonaventure topmast   Henry Grace a Dieu Friel 1995, 170
1550 c. Contarina I ship      
1600 c. Mast on bowsprit      

Bash, Lucien, "Ancient wrecks and archaeology of ships," International Journal of Underwater Archaeology (1972) 1.1:1-58.
Bass, George, A History of Seafaring based on Underwater Technology, London: Thames and Hudson, 1972.
Bellabarba, Sergio, "Note sull'origine della nave a tre alberi" in Archeologia delle Acque, Nucleo Archaeologia Subacquea del Veneto, (Jul-Dec 1999) 1.2.: 81-93.
Carbonell Relat, Laureano, "La navegacion pel mediterrani en el segle XV, epoca de la coca de Mataro" in Jose Maria Martinez-Hidalgo y Teran, Laureano Carbonell Relat, y Xavier Pastor Quijada, Evocaciones a l'entorn de la Coca de Mataro, Cambra Oficial de Comerc, Industria I Navegacio de Barcelona, s/d.
Casado-Soto, Jose Luis, El Pais Vasco y el mar. Desde los origines hasta el siglo XVIII, San Sebastian: Diputacion Foral de Guipuzkoa, Departamiento de Cultura y Turismo, 1995.
Cassagnes-Brouquet, Sophie, 2003, La passion du livre au Moyen Age, Rennes : Editions Ouest-France.
Casson, Lionel, Ships and seafaring in ancient times, Austin, Texas : Universisty of Texas Press, 1994.
Ciciliot, Furio, Le superbe navi. Cantieri e tipologie navali liguri medievali, Savona: Società Savonese di Storia Patria, 2005.
Elbl, Martin Malcolm, The Portuguese Caravel and European Shipbuilding: Phases of Development and Diversity, RUC, Coimbra: BGUC, 1985, vol. XXXIII, 543-572 (reed. Lisboa: CEHCA, 1985, sep. 183).
Friel, Ian, The Good Ship, Avon: British Museum Press, 1995.
Haywood, John, Dark Age Naval Power, Norfolk: Anglo-Saxon Books, 1999.
Landstrom, Bjorn
Mott, Larry, The Development of the Rudder, College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1997.
Paviot, Jacques, La politique navale des ducs de Bourgogne, 1384-1482, Lille: Presses Universitaires de Lille, 1989.
 (1) I am greatly indebted to Furio Ciciliot for showing me the original color image published by Haywood in Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet's work.

Citation Information: Filipe Castro and Mark Polzer, 2007, Rigging Chronology, World Wide Web, URL,, Nautical Archaeology Program, Texas A&M University