Currently browsing author

Using software to simulate port structures

Thomas Dhoop discusses how software can be used to simulate port structures. He explains how we can map the transport of goods from boats through history.   The fortunes of Southampton correlate with its maritime history. Its geographical location - on a major estuary on the English Channel coast with an unusual double high-tide, and its proximity to Winchester and London; the ancient and modern capitals of England - made the city an important regional centre for many centuries. Continue reading →

The Warship Vasa – Part 2

Vasa is an example of a wreck that was raised first and excavated after. A team led by Per Lundström consisting of ten archaeologists, a photographer and an artist, were charged with the task. Working conditions were exceptionally harsh. The ship had to be sprayed constantly with cold, fresh water to keep it from drying out, meaning that the team had to work in an invariably wet environment. Garden hoses and spray nozzles were used to wash away the black mud covering Vasa’s decks. Continue reading →

The Warship Vasa – Part 1

Today, it is hard to imagine, but during the 17th and 18th centuries, the Kingdom of Sweden was an aggressive entity – one of the great European powers – that asserted territorial control over much of the Baltic region. When Gustav II Adolf (1594-1632) acceded the Swedish throne in 1611 he inherited wars with Russia, Denmark and Poland. Gustav Adolf was the grandson of Gustav I – or Gustav Vasa as he is widely known today – the first of the Vasa dynasty. Continue reading →

‘Belgica’: whaler and research ship

In this short video, Thomas talks about his favourite shipwreck: Belgica.   The Belgica,  built as the whaler Patria in 1884 in Svelvik, Norway, became Belgium's most illustrious research vessel after it was bought and refitted by Adrien de Gerlache. The ship and its crew were the first to spend the winter on the ice of Antartica when the ship got stuck on the 28th of February in 1898. Only 13 months later, the crew managed to dig a canal to free the ship from the ice. Continue reading →

Ship Graffiti at St Thomas Church in Winchelsea

Learners on our MOOC ‘Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds’ will have already read in week 2 that iconography can be a valuable source of information for maritime archaeologists. It can provide details on ancient ships and boats and maritime-related activities, but what is more is that it provides an insight into the understanding of these maritime activities through the person who made them. Continue reading →

Recording tool marks at Buckler’s Hard

Learners on our MOOC ‘Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds’ will already be familiar with our shipwrightery workshop at Buckler’s Hard in Hampshire (United Kingdom) through the steps on experimental archaeology and medieval seafaring in week 2. One of the main objectives of this workshop is for our students to use the tools of the trade and produce the tool marks they will be asked to interpret in their professional lives. Continue reading →

New Winchelsea Harbour Geotechnical Survey

As learners active on our MOOC ‘Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds’ have learned during week 1, maritime archaeology does not always necessarily take place underwater. What we study is human engagement with the seas and the oceans and often, the evidence for this engagement is now to be found on land. One area that is of specific interest to me are harbour-sites, the interface between land and water par excellence, and the stage for a lot of human activity. Continue reading →

Starting the Dialogue between Archaeologist and Boat Builder

One of the things we are concerned with as maritime archaeologists is how ships were designed and constructed. Even though ships are objects that are interesting to investigate from a technological point of view, they can also inform us about some less obvious aspects of the past. For example, by examining shipwrecks from the Roman period, we can learn about the design and construction procedures the Romans used to build their ship which have been lost today. Continue reading →

Reflections on Archaeological SCUBA Diving and Sharks

SCUBA dive shop owners who have been in business since the 1970s all share first-hand the devastating impact the 1975 release of the blockbuster summer film ‘Jaws’ had on their business.  Almost 4 decades later, most of us have seen this iconic film and if honest, confess its impact on our own ‘healthy’ (or unfortunately, misinformed unhealthy!) fear of sharks. Continue reading →