Why sailing on the rivers   |   the types of boats | Archaeology of the oldest boats of the world | Pirogues of Haute & Petite Seine

For at least 9000 years men has moved on water thanks to boats.
The most former evidences are wrecks discovered in Northern Europe which date from the Mesolithic period
At that time it was primarily for hunting and fishing as with NOYEN-sur-SEINE where the environment corresponds to a paleo channel excavated around a pirogue which delivered evidence of fishing in the form of remains of bow nets and fish remainders. 

For the protohistoric and historical periods, the functions of transport of passengers and goods were developped. 

Excavation of a mesolithic bow netin Noyen-sur-seine. Ph. Cl D. Mordant.

The prehistoric boats are of the pirogues of the monoxyle type - composed of only one piece of wood - most of the time in coniferous tree.
The form is very lengthened - until more than 8 m - but narrow - 50 to 60 cm.
Outside is often circular (trunk barked gross), the ends out of spoon with sometimes of the interior adjustments of reinforcement. See illustration experimental archaeology page.

In all the cases, the wrecks arrived to us because their hiding in a wet medium which preserved them degradations.

If we limit the period prior to 5000 years BC, the discoveries current are concentrated in Europe of the North-West:  There are also finds of paddles in Great Britain - STAR CARR - and in Denmark - ULKESTRUP LYNG, HOLMEGARD, DUVENSEE - which place the rivers navigation to the IX e thousand-year BC

Nandy/Le-Coudray-Montceaux | Paris | Bercy |   Noyen/mesolithic | Noyen/carolingien | Curiosity

In France, the discoveries of very old boats are remarkably grouped on the Seine upstream of PARIS


Pirogues of PARIS 
In 1867 the bed of the Seine delivered a pirogue monoxyle of oak at the upstream end of Ile de la Cité in PARIS. It was accompanied by weapons (helmet, swords) which would give him a dating of the age of bronze, it can be seen in the museum of St-Germain-en-Laye. L: 5,15 m   L: 0,58 m   H: 0,37 m. 
In 1906, the building of the bridge of Iéna delivered a pirogue, probably of historical age. L: 8,90 m   L: 1,20 to 1,06 m   H: 0,60 m. 

Illustration to come
In 2002, a pirogue was decouverte at Quai Branly during the construction of a museum. 

Description to come. 

Upstream, a wreck known as "drakkar", committed in the bank with AVON was partially excavated before the war of 1870.
Pirogue néolithique de Bercy. Cl. Commission du Vieux Paris.
Pirogues of BERCY 

The Neolithic period and more precisely chasséen and Cerny (IVe-Ve thousand-year-old BC) is illustrated by the discovery of six monoxyles pirogues in Paris-Bercy during an rescue excavation in 1991, the associated material shows an intense occupation of the edges of the Seine. 
Datings: 5745 ± 95 BP, 5510 ± 20 BP, 4125 ± 55 BP, 4100 ± 40 BP, 3860 ± 75 BP, 3810 ± 50 BP

The prehistoric pirogue of NOYEN-SUR-SEINE 

It is a monoxyle pirogue found in 1984 in NOYEN-SUR-SEINE (Seine-et-Marne), in a context of paleo channel near the Seine which delivered evidence of fishing (remains of bow nets, fish remainders - eel, pike...).
It is manufactured in a trunk of pine and preserved over a length of 4,05 m. Width is from 50 to 55 cm and the eight is close to 20 cm. 
The dating 14 C gave 7960 ± 100 BP either 7190-6450 BC cal. (GIF-6559) or with the Mesolithic period. 
It is currently visible with the museum of NEMOURS. An experimental reconstruction was carried out. 

Pirogue mésolithique de Noyen-sur-Seine. Cl. D. MORDANT.

Pirogue carolingienne de Noyen-sur-Seine. Cl. D. MORDANT.
The carolingian pirogue of NOYEN-SUR-SEINE 

It is a monoxyle pirogue in oak discovered in NOYEN-SUR-SEINE (Seine-et-Marne) in 1992 during rescinding a loop of the Seine allowing 3000 tons traffic, in a context of paleo channel. Original dimensions were to reach 14 m length for 0,90 m of width and a depth from 0,30 to 0,40 m. 
It is dated from carolingian period with a date of cutting of the tree of 834 AD. 
It is currently visible with the museum of NEMOURS

The unknown pirogue ! 

Who could say from which comes this "flowers vat pirogue" located in edge of Seine in St-MAMMES (Seine-et-Marne)?