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The Cog of Bremen 1962−2017 Neu

Found & Reconstructed

The Cog of Bremen 1962−2017
Bremerhaven: Selbstverlag DSM
Texts: Stefan Kruecken; Photos: Axel Martens; Editing: Erik Hoops
Exhibition Booklet No. 01

1st edition, 2018, 28 pages, 17 illustrations, 14.8 x 21 cm, softbound, 80 g
ISBN 978-3-947235-01-8
7,90 EUR Kaufen
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The Cog of Bremen works like a time machine. Its sheer size, its well-preserved wood, and its authenticity make it easy for us to imagine our-selves back in the fourteenth century. Back in the deep Middle Ages, when men put out to sea in vessels such as this one to engage in trade all over Northern Europe: in red wine from France, beer from Bremen, wool from England and pottery from the Rhineland. The big container ships are to the present – the age of globalization  – what cogs were to the age of the Hansa. In its hold: room for 80 tons of goods. On deck: space for a crew of ten, plus merchants, craftsmen and/or pilgrims.

The Cog of Bremen works like a catalyst for the imagination. It gets visitors dreaming and gives scientists food for thought: How was the ship built? Who travelled on it? Did the crew venture out into the rough waters of the North Sea or did they hug the coast?

To this day, the Cog of Bremen is a sensation. Great scientific feats were required at every step of its preservation. It was discovered by chance in 1962 and was already putting experts to the test from the very start: all that was holding the ship together was the sand of the Weser. The consequence: each individual part had to be recovered separately. The undertaking required a special suction dredge, two emergency operations, and several years of painstaking work. Forty-five tons of wood, brackets, eyes, a dagger, a barrel of tar and a leather shoe were recovered from the silt and sludge at the bottom of the river.

The next challenge: how do you pre-serve a merchant vessel that’s been under water for six hundred years? There was no empirical data on how to deal with wood that had become fragile and threatened to shrink. The experts at the German Maritime Museum (DSM) had an idea: they put the cog in a huge steel vat filled with PEG, a synthetic wax. It was a conservation process of eighteen years before, in the year 2000, the museum could present the Cog of Bremen to the public.

Now the reconstructed “cog hall” is opening – and to this day, the cog is the heart of the museum built for it. There’s no end in sight for the research work, and our visitors’ curiosity likewise knows no limit. The Cog of Bremen is as much a world sensation as ever. We are delighted to be able to offer it a dignified, modern setting.