The conference “Ancient ships in Latvia – yesterday, today, tomorrow” was held on 14th December 2013 in the conference hall of the Freeport of Riga Authority. Its purpose was to familiarize with the situation of Latvian craft knowledge and skills in the construction and preservation of ancient wooden ships, supplementing the diversity and accessibility of cultural and historical heritage.
The trade route of the Daugava was connected with the old ships, and Arnis Radiņš, director of the Latvian National Museum, told about the aspects of the trade structure.
Ancient ships are reported by our historical heritage at the bottom of sea – shipwrecks hidden in the existing museum repositories and still those in the sea. Underwater archaeologist Voldemārs Rains presented the results of research in this area at the conference.
Latvian crafts are the basis for the construction of ancient wooden ships, which is evidenced not only by the history of Latvia, but also by many wooden boats and viking ships of Pāvilosta, Grobiņa and Daugava – not museum exhibits, but successful business projects today. President of the Latvian Chamber of Crafts Vilnis Kazāks and representative of the association “Pāvilostas laivas” Ģirts Vagotiņš – Vagulis introduced his vision and experience of Latvian craftsmen.
The latvian Viking ship “Asa”, which has traveled to Norway, has been built by the Latvian craftsman and master Juris Zīle. But there are already tedious work in progress on its successor – the Viking ship “Indriķis”. Participants of the conference had the opportunity to see both ships, as they have already been given the full attention of Latvian media. TV “Spektrs” professionals gave the conference participants a chance to see the work of master Juris Zīle.
The Viking ship “Indriķis” will be followed by the reconstruction of the historical Riga ship. With help of this project the future intentions are to set up an “Ancient Harbour-Museum” in Latvia, Riga, on the banks of the Daugava River, which at the same time would be a place for ship reconstruction, port for tourism routes, winter docks, attractive tourism and children’s creative activity center – the participants of the conference were introduced by the association “Rīgas Kuģis/Riga Ship” representative Ēriks Šulcs.
Similar projects from our neighboring Denmark and Europe have proved not only their viability, but also the successful business projects have been made possible by public participation in these processes.
World view in 2014 will be particularly focused on Riga in all its creative expressions. Time link between the port of Ancient Riga and ancient ships in the vision of the future of the Freeport of Riga – in the vision of the representatives of Riga City Council and the Freeport of Riga.
The organizer of the conference is the association “Rīgas Kuģis/Riga Ship”.