Documentation methods on transport ships in the Werbellinsee (Brandenburg, Germany)

(German Archaeological Institute, Berlin, Germany)

Keywords: Werbellinsee, transport shipping, Kaffenkahn, sector scan sonar, 3D modeling

In the 18th and 19th centuries, wooden barges, the so-called “Kaffenkähne”, were particularly essential for the transport of building materials, food and other goods within the Mark Brandenburg. They are also an integral part of the contemporary cityscape of Berlin. The few well-preserved witnesses of the Wilhelminian era or “Gründerzeit” are now lying on the bottom of lakes and rivers. At least ten such boats are located in the Werbellinsee in the district of Barnim in Brandenburg. According to our current knowledge, they all date into the 19th century. Since 2007, the shipwrecks are documented and researched by the association Kaffenkahn e. V.
The paper gives an overview on the importance of the ships for inland navigation and transport history in the Berlin-Brandenburg area. In addition, the methodological approach in the documentation of up to 40 m long barges is discussed. Considering the size of these shipwrecks in combination with the difficult working conditions in the Werbellinsee, for example poor visibility, low temperatures and great depths, modern remote sensing and documentation methods are an indispensable part of the archaeological work under water. Which aims, questions as well as problems are connected with the application of modern documentation techniques, is also discussed.

Relevance conference:
The shipwrecks in the Werbellinsee are documented not only with traditional surveying methods but also modern methods and are important witnesses of the industrial and economic history of Berlin.

Relevance session:
Cost-effective methods of three-dimensional documentation under water are presented.