Byblos Ship 9: Hogging Truss
With the basic hull complete it’s time for the installation of the hogging truss. Ancient depictions clearly indicate the way the truss was attached at bow and stern and twisted taught in the middle.
At the bow, a thick weave of ropes hugged the hull (image 2A) and held a lateral beam at the bulwarks (image 2B). The truss was attached to this beam and stretched towards the stern (image 2C). The structural importance of the truss in holding the shape of the hull is evident from its thickness in the depictions.
A similar structure was built at the stern. Here though, the weave does not reach the bulwarks. It appears to pass through a hole into the hull (image 4A) where it presumably held a similar beam, under the steering deck (image 4B). The only plausible reason for this differentiation between bow and stern, on an otherwise symmetrical hull, is for the ease and comfort of the steersmen. The six steersmen would have trouble controlling the steering oars with the beams and ropes of the hogging truss structure among their legs. The Egyptian shipbuilders lowered the hogging truss attachment at the stern and added the steering deck above to create a raised platform for the steersmen.
The longitudinal hogging truss was tied to the beams at bow and stern and twisted taught amidships by a wooden pole inserted through its strands (image 6A). The pole was tied to one of the vertical supports and to the truss itself to keep it under tension (image 6B).