The shipwreck of Santa Maria in Padovetere (Comacchio-Ferrara). Archaeology of a riverine barge of Late Roman period and of other recent finds of sewn boats


Author: Carlo Beltrame, Elisa Costa
Year of printing: 2023
ISBN: 9788892851986
e-ISBN: 9788892851993


The 5th century AD barge of Santa Maria in Padovetere was discovered and investigated inside an ancient river, West of Comacchio. The place, which later hosted the parish of Santa Maria in Padovetere, is considered a strategic crossroads of Late Roman waterways. The anoxic conditions have well preserved the bottom and the entire right side. This extraordinary conservation, coupled with in situ digital documentation, has allowed the 3D reconstruction of the entire shape of the shipwreck. It was a riverine flat bottom barge with a very high stern and a central long rudder according to a shipshape well documented by Central European Roman sculptures. Scientific analysis allowed to reconstruct the environment where it moved and to make hypotheses on the types of goods transported. This is a very rare example of an ancient riverine barge and an important evidence of the technique of construction by sewing. The book also presents other recent finds of this construction technique which, during the Roman period and the Early Middle Age, was used only in the Upper Adriatic.


Foreword, Sauro Gelichi
Introduction, Carlo Beltrame

  • Carlo Beltrame, 1. Shipwrecks as sources for the study of ancient riverine navigation in Italy and abroad
  • Carlo Beltrame, 2. The beginning of the investigation and the location of the site of Santa Maria in Padovetere


  • Carlo Beltrame, 3. Chronology, formation of the deposit and historical and archaeological context
  • Claudio Negrelli, 4. After the shipwreck: artefacts and pottery between 5th and 6th century AD
  • Elisa Costa, 5. The survey methodology


  • Carlo Beltrame, 6. For a multidisciplinary approach in nautical archaeology
  • Paolo Mozzi, Alessandro Alessio Rucco, 7. The geoarchaeological context of the area of Santa Maria in Padovetere
  • Alessandra Forti, Antonella Miola, 8. Which environment did the barge sail in? Biological records for an environmental reconstruction and use of the barge


  • Carlo Beltrame, Elisa Costa, 9. Description and analysis of the hull of Santa Maria in Padovetere
  • Carlo Beltrame, 10. Method of construction and typological study of the Santa Maria in Padovetere shipwreck and comparisons with similar barges
  • Carlo Beltrame, 11. Aspects of the riverine navigation in Antiquity and the propulsion of the barge of Santa Maria in Padovetere
  • Elisa Costa, 12. The digital 3D reconstruction of the barge of Santa Maria in Padovetere and its hull shape
  • Elisa Costa, Germano Degan. 13. Hydrostatic and hydrodynamic analyses on the hull shape of the barge of Santa Maria in Padovetere
  • Carlo Beltrame, 14. The ship-construction technique by sewing in the Roman and Early Middle Age periods


  • Carlo Beltrame, 15. Recent finds of planking of a sewn ship of Roman period along the shore of Alberoni, at the Lido di Venezia
  • Elisa Costa, Dario Gaddi, 16. A recent find of a plank of a sewn ship of Late Roman period at Grado (GO)
  • Alessandra Forti, 17. Xylotomic analysis of the wooden sewn planks of Roman period found at Grado and Alberoni
  • Carlo Beltrame, 18. A sewn boat of Roman period near Altinum (Marcon)
  • Carlo Beltrame, Elisa Costa, 19. Final observations 137


Additional information

Weight :0,700 kg
Dimensions:29x21x1 cm


Place of printing

Sesto Fiorentino (FI)

Year of printing






black and white and color illustrations and 6 A3 illustrations







paper / ebook

paper, Google Play ebook, Torrossa ebook


Open Access

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under license Creative Commons Attribution - Non commercial - No derivative works 4.0 International.