A typical Baltic merchantman could carry a lot of bulk goods, such as corn and timber, and could be sailed by a small crew. Speed and armament were less important on these short, comparatively safe trips.
The cat and the flute, that was developed around 1600, met these requirements. The flute, with its characteristic round stern and drawn in boards, had a very narrow deck. An advantage when it came to paying the Sont toll, which was based on the deck's width. When trade declined in the eighteenth century, smaller en faster types of ships came into use, such as the koff, the galleot and the smack.
In 1984, near the Dutch island of Texel, the wreck of a Baltic merchantman was discovered, which was named ‘Scheurrak SO1’, after the site where it was found. During the exploration of this flute-like ship, many objects were found, photo's of which have been included in the digital collection. In the digital lesson ‘Dive into the past’ the wreck can be explored.