WIT Press

Analysis Of Building Systems And Technological Characterization Of Medieval Shipyard


Free (open access)

Paper DOI



Volume 2 (2018), Issue 1



Page Range

60 - 70




Shipyards, an architectural typology developed since the classical civilizations to build military or merchant vessels, found their greatest technological progress in the Middle Ages. Especially in the Mediterranean area, they were built with different techniques and materials, generating different characteristics related to the context in which they were grown. These architectures, which are examples of prosperous times for the medieval harbour towns, seemed obsolete a few decades ago regarding the original functions for which they were built. Today, they are partly in an evident degradation state and partly recovered. In a contemporary logic that provides for the reuse of places, by the characteristic industrial feature now disused, in new cultural centres and attractive poles for these cities, the constructive conformation as well as technologies and materials applied should be understood. Some of the most influential medieval dockyards in the Mediterranean basin were analyzed, considering the places in which they are based and the main constructive elements, with particular attention paid to the analysis of representative technological systems of the whole structure (i.e. piers, pillars and arcs; old wooden roofing systems; stone vaulted structures). The study aims to develop a comparative analysis in terms of morphology, materials and construction techniques of the elements that configure the aisles or lanes in which different boats were built, repaired or preserved or stored. The aim is to demonstrate that, despite the peculiarities of each site, in which the traditional building techniques linked to local materials were used, the medieval shipyard architectural type have evolved and consolidated in a homologous way in the whole Mediterranean area.


Mediterranean basin, middle ages, shipyard, typo-technological analysis