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What was life like on board ship 500 years ago?
What were the ships like? The typical ocean voyage ship was a Caravel.  They were small, fast and easy to steer. Around 21 metres long & 6.5 metres wide. Storage below decks for food, drink, sails, firewood etc.
Where did the Sailors stay? There was no room below decks for the ordinary sailor. So they had to sleep and live on the open deck! Can you imagine what it would have been like in a fierce storm?
And to eat? One hot meal a day if they were lucky All the fresh food eaten at the start of the voyage, before it went off! Afterwards it was hard ships biscuit, salted meat and of course FISH! Rats and Maggots often got into the food. Water was stored in barrels and didn’t taste too good after a week or two at sea!
Source A “ We ate only old biscuit reduced to powder, all full of worms and stinking of the urine that the rats made on it. And we drank water that was yellow and stinking” Antonio Pigafetta 1500’s – a sailor aboad the Magellan
Source B “ It rotted all my gums, which gave out a black and putrid blood. My thighs and lower legs were black, and I was forced to use my knife each day to cut into the flesh, to release this black and foul blood.” A 15 th  Century Sailor
He was talking about what we now know is Scurvy. This is a disease  caused by vitamin deficiency – not getting enough of the right vitamins. It was a common problem.
What sorts of jobs did the sailors do? This varied according to experience and rank.  Crew’s were divided up into groups, each group was called a ‘watch’.  A watch typically worked for 4 hours, then rested. The ship’s ‘boy’ had to turn over the hour glass to measure the time that had passed.
Other jobs Pump the sea water out – all wooden boats leaked a bit! Scrub the decks Move the sails Mend sails and ropes Look out in the ‘crows nest’
Quick quiz 10 seconds for each question! Get ready…..
1. What was the name of the typical ocean voyage ship?
2. Where did the regular sailors sleep?
3. Name two typical foods for a long voyage
4. What causes Scurvy?
5. How long was a typical ‘watch’?
6. Name three typical jobs for a sailor on a voyage
How did you do? Put your name on your paper Put all the papers in a pile in the middle of the desk Swap with another table Fairly mark the answers and give a mark out of 6

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What was life like on board ship 500 years ago

  • 1. What was life like on board ship 500 years ago?
  • 2. What were the ships like? The typical ocean voyage ship was a Caravel. They were small, fast and easy to steer. Around 21 metres long & 6.5 metres wide. Storage below decks for food, drink, sails, firewood etc.
  • 3. Where did the Sailors stay? There was no room below decks for the ordinary sailor. So they had to sleep and live on the open deck! Can you imagine what it would have been like in a fierce storm?
  • 4. And to eat? One hot meal a day if they were lucky All the fresh food eaten at the start of the voyage, before it went off! Afterwards it was hard ships biscuit, salted meat and of course FISH! Rats and Maggots often got into the food. Water was stored in barrels and didn’t taste too good after a week or two at sea!
  • 5. Source A “ We ate only old biscuit reduced to powder, all full of worms and stinking of the urine that the rats made on it. And we drank water that was yellow and stinking” Antonio Pigafetta 1500’s – a sailor aboad the Magellan
  • 6. Source B “ It rotted all my gums, which gave out a black and putrid blood. My thighs and lower legs were black, and I was forced to use my knife each day to cut into the flesh, to release this black and foul blood.” A 15 th Century Sailor
  • 7. He was talking about what we now know is Scurvy. This is a disease caused by vitamin deficiency – not getting enough of the right vitamins. It was a common problem.
  • 8. What sorts of jobs did the sailors do? This varied according to experience and rank. Crew’s were divided up into groups, each group was called a ‘watch’. A watch typically worked for 4 hours, then rested. The ship’s ‘boy’ had to turn over the hour glass to measure the time that had passed.
  • 9. Other jobs Pump the sea water out – all wooden boats leaked a bit! Scrub the decks Move the sails Mend sails and ropes Look out in the ‘crows nest’
  • 10. Quick quiz 10 seconds for each question! Get ready…..
  • 11. 1. What was the name of the typical ocean voyage ship?
  • 12. 2. Where did the regular sailors sleep?
  • 13. 3. Name two typical foods for a long voyage
  • 14. 4. What causes Scurvy?
  • 15. 5. How long was a typical ‘watch’?
  • 16. 6. Name three typical jobs for a sailor on a voyage
  • 17. How did you do? Put your name on your paper Put all the papers in a pile in the middle of the desk Swap with another table Fairly mark the answers and give a mark out of 6