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History of the Medieval Boat Hulk

History of the boat hulk

The Hulk vessel was invented in the early medieval period – it was a sea craft that is known as the predecessor of the more advanced carrack and carvel vessels. The Hulk is also known as the “holk” and in this period it wasn’t much used nor spread widely.

It was used as a minor type of ship in the low countries of Europe and primarily in the part as a river or canal boat and didn’t have much potential on open water.

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The name is from a Greek word which means a towed boat and the same word has a medieval meaning of “hollowed-out” which represents the basic shape of this vessel.

The problem with this ship was that it had a rival, the cog. This ship was starting to advance after years of it being left out and for a period of time it started to surpass the cog, this was in the fourteenth century.

The reason for which vessel should be in use was the location of the trading routes. But by the 15th century, the hulk was replaced and her fame didn’t last long, the best ship now was the caravel.


Greenhill, Basil (2000). The Mysterious Hulc

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