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. 32, No. 3, Shipwrecks (Feb., 2001), pp. 292-310 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/827924 . Accessed: 16/09/2012 10:05
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Ships and boats as archaeological source material
cultures, ofthepast.Yetinso many socialinteractions itis potsthat areusedto explore So often they are that be argued itmight profile, symbolic sucha prominent andboatshaveacquired ships examines Thispaper transported. so often thepotsthey than carriers ofmeaning evenmore potent justbeginweareonly that andargues potential their archaeological that watercraft thefactors give them to thefull. to exploit ning
ritual; symbol. ideology; tradition; materials; economics; environment; technology; Boat;ship;
andexchange trade subsistence, Communication,
and environmental paradox. Even today,in an age a cultural Bodies of waterconstitute or a boundary barrier, wateras a hazard,a physical we acknowledge of global transport, of thesequalitiesmusthave been far another'world'.In thepast themagnitude frontier, rather lakes and seas were the means of connecting yetat the same timerivers, greater, than dividingsocieties.To acknowledgethisis becomingrathera cliche,a mandatory maritime-related yetthe reasons it has become lecture, in any introductory observation evidenceforseafaring goes back at least 60,000years, The indirect so cannotbe ignored. while the postglacial archaeological record indicates frequentmovementof people, and hence ideas, over long distancesby water. materials and exchange, by the Mesolithicand perhaps communication As well as fortransport, considerablyearlier, societies were exploitingaquatic resources as part of complex has been found evidenceofthesecommunities Rich archaeological subsistence strategies. in coastal environments (Andersen 1987a), in estuarineareas (Wright1990; McGrail 1996) and in lakes (Dixon 1991; Morrison1980; Ruoff1972). Many societiestherefore or were at least tapped into communications of some description, used watertransport to understand past societiesmust networks facilitated by water.It followsthatattempts social factors. and theinterrelated ofwatertransport culture take accountofthematerial 292-310 Vol. World Shipwrecks 32(3): Archaeology O0oV L4,6 online LtdISSN 0043-8243 print/1470-1375 & Francis 2001Taylor
whether ornot. them inan extraordinary condition. Every with voyage begins a risk-assessment that balances ofenvironmental. As a vessel gets older. forbad designs. craft ofwrecks. Thisis oflossesoften to preserve sequence conspire theanaerobic that is assimilated into sediments thecase for cultural material particularly indry thepreservation found The difference between ofthebedsofseas.sourcematerial 293 Ships and boats as archaeological ofboatsandships that itistheremains a primary Within this general designation comprise thehazardous nature ofwater Of thevastnumbers classofevidence.lakesorrivers. If thisis trueit undermines claims thatwatercraft havehigharchaeological thewreck potential. The scaleof . fortuitously. Dean et al. that database tous an enormous port hasbequeathed augmented bythose orritually ofinvarious wereabandoned disposed ways. Coles better of and Lawson1987). shipmight be lucky enough to a voyage while a newandfar complete stronger vessel is overwhelmed byenvironmental forces. Failure orsuccess? It couldbe argued that thewreck is biasedtowards database inthat itinevitably failure. Preservation valuethatboat and shipremains As wellas anyintrinsic mayhave as archaeological thathave caused a steady the same environmental forces assemblages. Formal'risk-assessment' is fastbecoming institutional commonplace procedure in all walks oflife. judgements human andtechnological factors. conscious is ofcourse a constant Risk-assessment. It is therefore incorrect togeneralize that theships that sink arethelesssuccessful designs. Thisis expressed inMurphy's 'onemore voyage' hypothesis which that wrecks aretheresult argues many ofan erroneous judgement that thevessel inquestionwas good for'one morevoyage'(Murphy 1983:75). An important materials of thisdifferential organic by-product is that material found underwater is often to that found on preservation complementary landsites.above all it is characterized by dramatically preservation in wet environments. behaviour.g. transconstructed. ofhuman behaviour butperhaps an activity where it has always been explicit is seafaring. In fact database is more indicative ofenterprise andcalculated risk. This is a self-perpetuating forthetemptation wouldbe to see vesselsthatreturn tendency. Soundjudgement mayofcourse be overridden byother motives. thevessel's lossproves thejudgement to havebeeninerror. accounts forpoorly old and rotten or foraberrant maintained. risk-assessment progressively takes more account ofitscondition until at somepoint itsusers decidediscretion is thebetter part of valour. In morerecent wesee this periods incommerce particular clearly where arekept ships inusewellbeyond their safeworking life. has beenfrequently and wetenvironments highlighted (e. an old andunseaworthy Nevertheless. as fit foryetanother Ifthis voyage. vessels. thevalueofresearch thataddresses thereby promoting to questions relating landandsubmerged material in an integrated way. process at somepoint continues. Recentferry disasters showthat vessels in either condition can also be lostas a result ofhuman error. irrespective oftheir suitability for a particular task. 1992:31.
Hoo in Suffolk. grave that haveprovided ofCheops. Norway. Sutton wereusedin that The fact ships 'type-sites'. in 1628. 1995. occupation tosocialattitudes torelating as opposed tional utility. theuse of old boatsas navigational . and ofwreckings a minority comprise theseandcaseslikethem that remains The fact error. however. Hjortspring. them. One can human including offorces. and at Oseberg such as those finds It is offunerary ritual.Skaarup sen1995. as variedas thetheories are probably deposition (Rieck 1995). werecreated. ofother forms record as a consequence andas a symbolic component goods. change. Until recently.most haveon occasions faults design Admittedly was design theinitial case. Somedeposits toexplain offered or for better water boats in preservation orpartly ofboatelements completed thestorage powerful Thoughone couldpostulate blockages. England. with someofitsfinest archaeology nautical in their significance symbolic thattheyhad considerable waysimplies suchelaborate this aspect. thesignificance with together 1995.The reasonsfortheir for as primarily areinterpreted example functional.built theMary inthis category: falls warship famous royal Another life long relatively of a repairs routine The voyages. around from armament increased consequences.however.As wellas these Warmind funclimited topurely use was their which The extent to as coffins. high-status patently 1995). fora bodyandgrave inburials.Ingstad as technological (Dommasnes thanthe shipsthemselves small boatswerealsoused burials. offerlakesas votive inbogsorsmall swampy seemtohavebeenplaced casesvessels these inpeat ofthem alloverScandinavia.Adams 294 Jonathan against tendto militate of failure and theconsequences thelevelofinvestment effort. couldnothaveforeseen andbuilders designers inways theoriginal worthy and in 1509-11 Rose. occur ofboatsorboatelements many Bog finds ings.Crumlin-Pederto generate (Carver hasbegun orethnicity 1995). oftheSwedish famously causedloss. to countless In addition is theuse of The most obvious ofsocialaction. In other had started construction after thespecifications less seabecoming life. andVimose Illerup Nydam. which they within traditions building andabandonment Ritual deposition thearchaeological boatsand shipsalso enter accidental losses. entities 1992. societies inmany other thedeceased's todeath. casesboatsor (Soop 1992:15).progressively their throughout modified shipsare repeatedly orintended. andin thetomb Egypt. discussion considerable 1995.MUller-Wille at as those such bestcharacterized areperhaps byfinds ofritual forms Other deposition In all in and at Kvalsund inDenmark. ofa combination occur as theresult that most to with respect ormisjudgement ofmisfortune wrecks as theresult most regard therefore use andofthe interms extended oftheir ofsuccess butas a measure final their voyage. 1995).In this voyage Vasaon itsmaiden warship toalter II Adolph Gustav byKing compelled were thebuilders theway rather notatfault. early in her successful undoubtedly relatedto and perhapsongoingmodification rebuilding in substantial culminated tragic with stability affected adversely allofwhich 1536. as containers ships at in Gokstad Norway. sudden radical. Ellmers 1992. societies (Varenius respective less rather has been considered ofthosepersons buried.
the Implacablehad remained afloatin Portsmouth Harbour fornearly a century and a half. ofold ships that areperceived tohavehistorical disposing The motto significance. ofmaterial culture are discarded whenbroken or worn other Just as many types out. 45. The reluctance oftheship tosink served seeming toheighten only emotions among those who watched.Whereare they socialattitudes they is left To what extent removed Whatequipment on them? arematerials for abandoned? Arethey more involved? In somesocieties recycling? oris there simply dumped. to thesoundsof a gunnery saluteand a bugler playing the 'lastpost'.g. ofthe World is 'never an oathtaken ShipTrust again'. Thatshewent tohergrave theWhite flying Ensign andtheFrench Tricolour. referring to the factthaton many landsites. todaythroughout where hulked vessels slowly decayin themud(e.One ofthebestknown of some twenty-five of thistypewere the remains medievaland postassemblages inSweden intheformer medieval at Kalmar medieval found harbour vessels (Akerlund ofreveals a great deal about thewayinwhich old vessels are disposed 1951). Layard1942:470-2). theritual nature ofitsdisposal. and symbolic significance deposits ritualistic withcomplex to warfare and social Nydamare undoubtedly relationships Rieck1994: organization (Randsborg 1995. muchof thematerial we excavate has been intentionally ing. Milneet al. cog found in Sweden cutthrough with Bossholmen an axe. boatsmaybe methodically dismembered. especially conditions ofpost-war theshipwastowed Britain. thehistorical symbolic significance events inwhich ithadbeeninvolved. . too rotten to be keptany Judged inthepenurious longer. The fateoftheImplacable led directly to the for the means Sark a saving Cutty from similar end. and rotten a practice evident the estuaries and creeks craft. Contexts andmeanings A sloganthathas been inscribed by students on thelavatory wallsof morethanone university archaeology department states that'archaeology is rubbish!'.This (Cederlund 1990)haditskeelhalf beenabandoned anda possible vesselhad clearly is that sea-going explanation severing to makeituneconomic thekeelwasintended to repair thus itsuse byanyone precluding a symbolic else. usually boatsareunderstood to possess soulsandare afforded rites at theendoftheir mortuary themoreutilitarian end ofthespecuse lives(e. itmayhavebeenas much as a functional decommissionIfthis seems onehasonly tolookattheefforts ofourownsociety to avoid far-fetched.Alternatively.Of course to them and themechanisms ofwhich werepart. weredetonated inthebilges Black-powder charges butafter twoand a halfhoursthey had failedto sinkherand tugstried to finish thejob. 1998). A medieval in shallow wateroffthe islandof decommissioning ceremony. Captured from the Frenchat the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. byitsfounder Frank Carrafter witnessoftheImplacable in 1949.Even towards burnt or intentionally sunkas partofa trum. and notleast. At one extreme this was simply theabandonment ofaged so too wereboatsand ships.1995:127).g.source material 295 Shipsandboatsas archaeological other suchas thoseat Hjortspring for bothactivities.Indeedthewayin which ingthescuttling theImplacable was of demonstrates disposed howhighly suchevents charged can be.demonstrates the oftheship. out intothechannel tobe sunk.
andother between individual between objects. Thisis primarily itsvery few eveninthecase offraud.obvious and bodiesweretreated attentions. land found on most with those compared assemblages of their in the character differences ofinsurance phenomenon until therecent that basedon thefact sites. andthis is thecrux demonstrated archaeologically carried toallassemblages event andnotnecessarily tothewrecking refers a wreck strictly ofthevessel materials in timeand space. destroyed. that burials Buteveninthose ortombs.all constituent aboard. procedures there are distinct shipwrecks.Thisalsoapplies ancestors afterlife.discarded. invarious related ways . and the subsequent the siteenvironment wrecking process. being graves exceptions always thecase. relationships.wehavea much ina context survives Iftheobject 'invisible' attributes. us a high-resolution cangive words image 1981: they 20). (Hill 1995).as noted.using bymany. very fraud.The wrecking locates.Bothneedto be qualified (Gibbins views to overly aboutwrecks. In other (Binford complexities' butin their relationships objects well-preserved notonlyin individual ofpastactivity. rebuilt. thewaysin which haveescapedthetomb-robber's from that society's derives which in turn funerary ritual reflect goodsselected anygrave forms ofritual toother andso on. referred Binford's tothem term. ofbeing ableto discern relationships chance better were which within theseand thestructures they of objectsand between assemblages status'. in particular. to specific they willrelate in that discard andre-use. locamaterials. generally from this Derived oftheshipanditscontents. abandoned. hasbeenrecognized contextual havevastly more'relative thatthey as 'fine-grained' meaning assemblages.Adams 296 Jonathan is not this upon. ideasaboutdeath. boarda matter butother items theshipandthepeopleon board. setoutintentionally tobe shipwrecked. has led to therepeated andbyshipwrecks How apt a description term 'closedfind'.As Gibbins stored putit(1990:377). Manyvessels strong use at thesametimeor are associated byuniformly wereoften abandoned sankorwere a considerable and. underwater ofthepastprovided bywell-preserved Thetantalizingly images graphic use oftheterm 'time capsule'. simplistic Timecapsules? sites. wereall in that butit doesnotfollow ofthat in thecontext they anditscontents event. selection ofpurposeful andtheabsence contemporaneity havebeenhighlighted: qualities at facevaluecanlead as their acceptance 1990:377). ofuse. ofwreck where theappellation sites thenumber However. at leastto a degree. ofassemblages canbe andintegrity thecoherence thecasewhere this is only Ofcourse of Thecontemporaneity ofthematter. oroccasions tions. Gibbins (1990:377). they reached agebefore somemayhavebeenon at thewrecking. These 'inferential havea higher orused. is valid. to eachother. incharacteristics being reflected intention theultimate against would tend tocount nature twoprincipal accidental nature. people.Muchwillbe in theform of hours.they achieved to a degree attributes andmeanings revealsymbolic rarely often relationships elsewhere. ofthearchaeological thepopular equivalent oflossandthe on thecircumstances is foranyparticular sitepartly depends this really siteformation processes. which is one wayof categorizing In catastrophe sites. deposition. Of thematerials present substantially of assemblages somefordecades.Ofcourse re-used orbuilt robbed out.
fixtures andfittings. alsochange Ownership might through saleorgift orbyforce. allother with inuse constitute together a stratiassemblages actually graphic that in some cases sequence backa century ormorefrom thewreck mayextend a shiphaveconsiderably event.Of course provisos do notdetract from the'closedfind' valueofthoseassemblages that arerelated use at thetime ofsinking. a wreck maybe exploited societies thantheones thatusedit. evenwellpreserved wrecks maybetray no evidence of cultural behaviour thathas selectively removed material from theassemblage. opening diachronic rather than analysis a synchronic 'freeze-frame' approach. in other words to be on board. (e. .Tomalin Muckelroy (1978:157)described a shipwreck as 'theevent bywhich a highly organized anddynamic assemblage ofartefacts aretransformed into a static anddisorganized state'. ofprevious structure. and which was integral to itsfunction.However. groups on for. a shiparrives at itsplaceofwrecking with an onboard for units stratigraphy. onlyour ability to read and understand themas such. many oftheinterlinked component processes ofsiteformation are natural (the'n-transforms' ofSchiffer 1987: 7) andcanbe modelled anddeciphered. As Murphy out(1983:74). ofarchaeological include structural elements as wellas deposited stratigraphy sediments with together features ofuse that havesequential andcontextual anyassociated relationships (Harris Thehull itsballast. So notonlymight moretime-depth thanis commonly butinterms ofitsbiography as a socialandtechnological thought. therelationships between component objects. assemblagesandstructures andtheir varying qualities ofcontemporaneity andselection canbe thuspreserving recovered. depending where it sinks.Of course notall ofthese activities are 'readable'. usestowhich a vessel wasputcouldandoften didchange.g.this pointed alsoinvolve might transfer between ethnic ornationalities. through On thecontrary itcanbe argued that extend the they general contextual benefit of thewreckas an archaeological it up to entity. passim). for specific the purposes. As Ferrari (1995)has shown. 'closedfind' advantages on eventhemostdynamic of sites et al.Ships and boats as archaeological sourcematerial 297 or materials mayhaveno direct to that barthat ofphysical relationships voyage association. itsuse lifecan entity be positively While somecraft wereconstructed kaleidoscopic. thefact remains that thedegree to which a ship's contents arereorganized bythese processes doesnotinitself change their status as a related assemblage. Selection It wasnoted that thedegree towhich a siteis regarded as a closedfind is often related to thewrecking andformation where a well-preserved processes. Thisdefinition implies a short-term and dramatic event. theresidues 1979.Through of formation analysis processes. Evenhuman activities suchas salvage that onthewreck impact ontheseabedmay leavetraces that canbe recognized through stratiexcavation graphic justas other events are. bysimply happening In effect. Hencethesimplistic notion that a wreck is a 'single-event is a dangerous phenomenon' one that can blind theinvestigator to many ofthevessel's aspects these past. 2000). However. anditis true that themaintype ofsocially structured selection wouldbe jettisoning objects in an attempt to stayafloat. cargoes. 'coherent' wreck is a 'timecapsule'and a scattered 'discontinuous' wreck siteis not. byother Evidence oftheir ofsalvage activities orfishing willalso enter thearchaeological record. Nordoesitendthere.
and cargo. contents. at least. laboured in shifts to stay alive. foundered A good example of thisis the Sea Venture. maybeginhoursifnotdaysbeforethevessel actually sinks.thestructure. the social hierarchy. arrangement and.298 Jonathan Adams But the process wherebythe organizationof the vessel breaks down. Their extraordinary redemption on a hauntedislandprovidedShakespearewithmaterial forThe Tempest (1611) (Wingood 1982.rigmay be substantially alteredor cut away.The crewofa vessel in troublewill make strenuousefforts to avertdisasterand these activities can radically alterthe ship as a machine. For fourdays the ship's company.equipment.what it carriesaboard and the way it is organizedand used. In violentweather. culminating in wrecking. Plate1 ThehulloftheSea Venture excavation Boththelocations ofvarious classes (1609)during ofmaterial andtheabsence ofothers thelastfour as well result from desperate daysofthevoyage as from The lastdocumented elevenyears subsequent salvageactivity salvageepisodeoccurred after theloss(photoJ Adams) . an Englishcolonial vessel thatwreckedoff Bermuda in 1609 (Plate 1). Stowage of materialscarried aboard may be reorganizedand various emergency alterationsor repairsmade to the vessel.as well as the factthatthe shiphad been caughtin a hurricane. In these cases the assemblagedepositedon the seabed in the event of wrecking is not the same as it would have been had the vessel unexpectedly or sunk as a resultof naval actionor piracy. By thetimetheymiraculously foundland. temporarily had all been affected in the waysnoted above.crew and passengersalike. Adams 1985). fixtures and fittings maybe jettisonedin additionto anyitemslostinvoluntarily. The artefact assemblage reflects both the ship's nationality and its colonial purpose.
Muchofthe material culture used on boatsin prehistoric was farless specialized periods thanin historical inpost-medieval times. found comprise on board. oftheRomanperiod. thewholeassemblage. evidential connection between theshipandthelocalewhere itwrecks willnot detract from other archaeological qualities oftheassemblage.The nature relating production of thatspecialization is one of thecentral concerns of archaeology. The degree ofspecialization transport is also variable. Evenso. contributing ofthepatterns ofcommunication or details of ancient trade andexchange networks inwhich itwasinvolved. The clarity with which this canbe demonstrated exceeds anything that couldbe achieved on thebasisof material from landsites alone. voyages Aggregate value In spite ofthemanifest valueofshipfinds. industry. particularly The patterns that emerged indicate the of various transport commodities alongcertain routesand between specific locations. particularly Eventhen. Although individual finds may be unstratified andare to relateto specific usually impossible events. there is an important which is related proviso tositeformation andwhich therefore affects what be inferred might from various classes ofevidence found on board.inference on the basisofanyonewreck's location canbe problematic. where theshipcamefrom and often where itwas thus to a knowledge going. Ofcourse thelack ofa direct.assemblages of aspects with thevery society. fittings can at leastindicate especially cargo. combination ofhull any andthecontents. in effect.Ofcourse this couldbe a reason toquestion theusefulness ofshipboard material to inform aboutaspects of widersociety. While these points usefully temper assumptions ofpristine time-capsules inwhich the . and variety artefacts which are specific to theenterprise andwhich maybe moreor lessspecialized maritime for use. evidence from many cases. Thereis ofcourse no necessary direct relationship between thewrecking location and thevessel's homeportor intended in destination. In bothmercantile and naval would everyday possessions someoftheobjects activity. logsthe changing ofactivity intensity atthat placeover time. evenwhen therelationship between thevessel's location anditsfunction wrecking seemintuitively obvious. Certainly. a part Europe. rig.Ships and boats as archaeological sourcematerial 299 sensethevery fact In quiteanother ofputting tosea constitutes an exercise incultural It notonly theconstruction selection. ofan appropriate butactivities requires of vessel. Thereis also thechance that this canbe combined with information from other sites anditisjustthis sort ofaggregatedatafrom wrecks overtime occurring that canreliably demonstrate trends. with together thefluctuations in theintensity ofthattraffic overtime. Even where material culture is specialized forshipboard can revealunsuspected use.Similar benefits canbe gained from theanalysis ofmaterial inharbours accumulated overtime. butall material culture is variously 'specialized' to the reasons for its andcontexts ofuse. The benefits ofsuchan approach are exemplified byParker's 1992study ofMediterranean trade. trade or warfare and so on will involve a of materials subsistence. ofshipboard only is specific assemblages to shipboard lifeand enterprise. structure. choseto organize and execute beginning their waythey maritime andwater activities. indicating thenature ofitsrolewithin wider networks. and this is evenmorethecase for ofdiscovery or colonization.
' complex ships andmachines. pastis perfect related. 'In anypre-industrial that (1978:3) observed Muckelroy and most AD. a boat or (later)a shipwas thelargest century to thenineteenth lithic inthespaceage. investment an enormous represented in thelong and investment co-operation involving organization. bothphysical modelas follows. they ofwhich mechanisms socialand political theeconomic. aspects areused.The degree adornment on thesize. vehicles made. ofcommunication various forms whether maritime providing needs. ways. wide-ranging regard As wellas analysing aspects specific of the socialimplications. inherent partof. or economic as an element in a military sis: as a machine.reveals areusedforandhowthey they area part.form. very may within systems complex though system suchas rafts. funconegoesbeyond To ensure that to five.for still holdstrue this claim In someways machine produced. shipscan be viewedas a manifestation tionsand associated are ofconstraints that within a series ofsociety. related tospecific ofspecialanduse. and eachofMuckelroy's ofcourse as wellas initsmodesofuse. intenvessels were leisure. they ofwhich society peopleon boardandalso ofthewider as things Ships palaeofrom theupper society. needsandaspirations produced maritime 1. pervaded havethusdeeply ships from unavailable perspectives from can revealaspects ofsociety their material remains classesofevidence. socialactivity complex werepart. us about?In a word: meanings telling bothofthe in terms ofsociety.In reality ofproduction an or rather as as well as. constraints layout.including expression madeintheprocess ofthechoices that influence many Foritis these aspects constructed. inthis shown constraints thevarious Wemayconsider tosociety's anddirectly relates ofthevessel refers totheintended function(s) Purpose subsistand trade. we might andsystems tional analyses is the craft which within thoseof the tradition of social ideas. Through term. Many enceor industry military purposes features and construction use and so maynot exhibit design builtforgeneral tionally andthis ofspecialization a high exhibit vessels Other degree functions.As both objects moving byfar thelargest arestill ships been a has therefore Shipbuilding in resources. three categories butextended Muckelroy's andthe as ideology afloat add 'theshipas symbol'. ina similar way Amsterdam theVOC ship (1991:83) rationalized Gawronski community. contextually that is culture ofmaterial cross-section a broader we often observe and relationships withtheirmultiple assemblages Whatare thesecontemporaneous what culture.various functo their with ofships. landsitesor other a useful basisfor analyarestill inthree which ways Muckelroy (1978:216)sawtheship and as a closed system. forconstructing meansavailable refers to thetechnological Technology . imposes of thewater thecomplexity vesselcan also indicate transport ization of an individual forms include simple which itoperates.Adams 300 Jonathan assemblages in shipwreck that be maintained itcan still andself-evident. meaning symbolic incorporate necessarily Gawronski's aspects functions andconfigurations. in suchcomplex to society Beinglinked society. If thevessel. Whatshipsare as material society. or suchas fishing. inFigure as represented andmetaphysical.
Obviously our perceptionof particularcraft aspects of construction products. which various in and the ways in termsof design parameters will impose constraints are carried out.sourcematerial 301 Ships and boats as archaeological Environment TrdiIon and use of 1 Interrelated structural characteristics. ships as technologicalcomplexity. and differences period incompletedatabase we observesimilarities . the thenthiswill constrain limitedto stone tools. structures have to resist farmorecomplexforcesthanstationary simply cutting edge ofa society.In that of the past can onlybe based on the sum of theirsurviving traditions in physicalfeatures. ofideas willembodya system The craft within whichthevessel is constructed tradition This about whatboats and ships are and how theyshould be designedand constructed.theuses to which ofthecraft thatcan be constructed. appearance on theform. because no othersituation of past and priorities needs the motivations. thetechnological often represent methodsofshipbuilding visiblein shipsis therefore The technology is as demanding. constraints Figure watercraft.fireand simplecordage forfastening. one of the mostpotentmeans of discerning societies. waterHowever. size and complexity In use. craftwere put oftenrequired extraordinary the Therefore buildings.
thatmany of ideas and technique cross-fertilization aspects ofmaritime dimension as an important that be argued traditions. But were seen as representing artefact and distributions typologies and the concept of the archaeological has provedto be 'a complex whereas culture have more boat traditions edifice' 1989: 5).How much correlation a coherent assemblage in time characterize ofthis itinthe andthat ofthepeoplewhoproduced be between ourperception material ofarchaeology. ingeneral. as complex typologies. noneof which are necessarily diagnostic or exclusive there may andspace. designed logicalconstructs and to suppress variation of'traditional' valuestends a paradox. characteristics. technology.302 Jonathan Adams sense. system is which as a classification as a 'tradition' is 'our'construct. Perhaps validity . oursand 'theirs'. andso wereconstructs intheminds action. . building (Shennan unsatisfactory explanatory than butthewaybuilding this is more andpotential. butwhich together individually. which to infiltrate as a means with havegreat potential archaeology. out. as an array ofmaterial.what we identify particular craft were pastpeoplewhobuilt reality'. and between of traditional within thecorpus practitioners practice from bombardment and are underconstant are neverimpervious barriers Ideological Itisthis constant dialectorefine orinnovate. concerns andchallenges pastis one ofthecentral . The protection embody most somesocieties' whileat thesametimeboatsand shipsmayrepresent innovation both a dialectic is always is thatthere The explanation advanced interplay.overbehave ismuch more akintothewayrealsocieties andinteract traditions develop medieval and post-medieval and interactive. and widersociety. as McGrail (1995:139)haspointed Hencein an important andgeographic region. research thatis stillfastbuilding what material means to us now. Crafttraditions therefore oftheir practitioners too. andideoboatandship As socialpractice symbolic inevitably incorporates production traditions In thissensebuilding to safeguard bestpractice. of a tradition may Hencefrom bothends thetelescope. Europeanshipbuilding Certainly lapping inwhich boatand Liketherealsocieties were notbounded traditions andsealedentities. andsymbolic be regarded technological. was practised.that in havebeenthefocus Whileinevitable ofmostattention. rulesandconventions that awareofthespecific response toinquissimple yet honest way'. vatedhuman of 'archaeological cultures' (where archaeologist's equivalent ated as a sortofnautical real 'peoples'). aesthetic. In another sense. anditis in this wereinterconnected andsynaptic. so to speak.that infuriatingly levelof'wealways do itthis motivated constituted social practice.thetypological characteristics traits To dateithasbeenthesignificance ofthephysical .The significance this archaeology's doublehermeneutic: in thepasthas andmeanings andusedthem had forthosewhobuilt theseassemblages beenlessexplored. or as having somecorrelation produced relationship aretheresult ofmotion thebasisthat theobserved similarities anddifferences meaning treated haveoperaction. byaccident design. couldtherefore building thepast. Thisis a dichotomy that an issuein archaeology is still very much Sorensen areviewed as arbitrary either intheir dilemma: justthis typologies (1997:181) addresses with past to thesocieties that them. itiveethnographers. traditions shipbuilding It of changeare initiated. ofbuilding traditions onlyone halfof thisapproach utilizes its database. In this sense'traditions'. 'an abstraction from evenifonly at the governed their work. andthehuman external influences tendency tictension that leadsto change.
technical Each shipis a resolution ofthis dialectic relationship between variable infinitely factors. availability limit thechoice. scale required accesstomaterials.Thecharacoftheoperating teristics environment therefore exert andmechanical powerful practical constraints on thepossible waysin which a vesselcan be constructed.Ships and boatsas archaeological sourcematerial 303 are thenatural or manufactured materials Materials available forconstruction.The nature restricted ofthis relationship is often seenin localeswhere haveoccurred intheregional changes environment. bility interms oflabour toproduce totheresources and/or wealth Economics refers required theability economies to invest time andlabour. andpreferences or be related to thetechnological attitudes cultural mayindicate capato exploit them. together fishing equipment necessities. producofassociated with that andpaddles andother tion. surplus a massive leisure intheuse ofboats. forexample in theconstruction of ceremonial craft notintended for therigours oflong-distance theresulting voyaging. wealth has also created societies. or economic. whether environmental. andontheother thevarious hand. on a subsistence to create time. What will vary ineachcaseis thebalanceandamplitudeofeach interconnection depending on type. oftheir constituted a major material and contributed proportion culture to a successful subsistence ofremarkable strategy sophistication (Andersen 1987b). dynamic between. often andprotected acquired as wellas a considermilitarily. thevessel. In complex societies resources areoften related topolitical andmilitary directly policy as wellas depending oneconomic Theeconomics ofshipbuilding ona large capacity. for example as a result of agriculture or urbandevelopment. market is theintended Environment ofthevessel. craft willoften be severely initsuse. At thelevelofsubsistence for ofsuitable them to produce in thecutting would treesand reducing example logboats. constraints considered above. environment ifa boat operating Obviously is built foruse in sheltered coastalwaters or lakesit does notneedthesamecharacteristics ofstability androbust as a vessel construction intended for theopensea. ideological. havedepended successful therequired strategy enough wereconcerned thiswas routinely achieved societies Wherelogboats in by mesolithic andexchange whowerethus abletotransport commodities over EuropeandScandinavia via coastsandriver Danishfinds demonstrate that longdistances their systems. function. design Reading ships It willbe seen thatrelationships have been postulated between all of thefactors that constrain theproduction ofa vessel. Their influence willobviously havea strong on thevessels that canbe constructed. In more In somesituations will bountiful theenvironment choice regions. and wherethesechanges are thensubsequently inthechanged reflected ofwatercraft. socialcontext and so on. thestimuli forbuilding. Every vessel therefore hasthepotential toreveal these itscreation. In at shipsin their looking widest sense. infrastructures a number ofsatellite creating large indusinvolving tries In modern and crafts. expressed as need. Wherecultural or stretch requirements override theseparameters. ablelabour thus force.one can define each vesselas theproduct of a tension on theone hand. aspects andthrough underpinning them therelated aspects ofthesociety that .
isinexplicating inwhich itcando this ways important Perhaps oneofthemost the process of influence these constraints ways in which and interrelated The dynamic overtime nature may change for howtheir a rationale watercraft alsoprovide producing begins to ofthese constraints ifone ormore must occur orin different contexts. Muckelroy segregation associated in the differences and correlative communities land and seafaring between andshipboard ofseafaring hisassumptions aboutthenature material culture. in themodel represented thefinal constraint this reason that It is for tory relationships. has beenleft are produced. andfunctional ofvessels are as proscriptive as anyofthematerial that form enough. inhistorical common inevitably. conflict andifthecontradiction Theymay. were crews that most in command. buthisterm theduration implies closedfor certainly differences noted that there were often distinct from wider society. Change in different amplitude.Environmental logicalchangeto its environmental boatbuilding of all but the longest-lived occursoverlonger cyclesthanthe duration explanafind mutually we maymoreoften socialchange that henceitis with traditions. they ofappearance whom oftheexternal aspects many ofcourse. are perceived.at leastto an extent. purposes.Adams 304 Jonathan one ofthebestwaysto ofshipsoffers usedit. waysor at a different operate technoobserved allowsus to relate ofwatercraft in themateriality readthesechanges changeusually and social causes.butthere or thecoastalcommunities Polynesia these areuniversals. thosewhoneed shipsforvarious on the impose constraints above. ideoitis often poweroftheothers. including. It can be acceptedthatshipboard fundamental a more ofthevoyage. . howwatercraft votein influencing thathave thecasting logicalfactors andused. adorned what ships concepts that govern refers tothesumofideational andideological Ideology theideasof they maybe put. However.Thisincludes are understood to be and theusesto which thisis as wellas theideas of thebuilders.It is forthisreasonthatthecomplexity accessthepast. maygenerate and usersbutbysociety at large notjustbytheir owners builders. male. may visible.Bothmay related totheconcept of'tradition' discussed constraints. parts that to suggest is no evidence ofIndia. Thatwe can. in spiteoftheapparent until lastfor. ships Shipsociety are 'closed communities'. change. Muckelroy's societies. oflife theproduction It is inthesocialaspects surrounding be specifically designed. ofships as also includes thewholesymbolic Thiscategory profile change. it substantial is orbecomes ofcourse. to havebeen we believe constants basedon what various seemto presume communities Western from a predominantly andthat. are playedoutand becomemost thattheseideologies Specific and use ofships relationandtheir inthecontext ofshipboard communities arenowconsidered examples with wider society. times. and one person with predominantly It is archy hasarisen ofseafaring andmale-dominated a highly alsothecase that system specialized of societies theisland forexample at different oftheworld in other among times. for competitors. practice hierhad a rigid communities most itis truethat In that context shipboard perspective.
justas there cultures now.The internal ofspacereflected arrangement this division ofsocialrank very clearly. In rigidly hierarchical systems suchas thoseofpost-medieval navalships. AD 550. sporadically. Society wasseenas a pyramidal hierarchy with theking at thetop. whatsimplistic or analogiestendto be drawn. Thisranged from thewives codified circumstances inwhich nationality rigidly ormates would toinland ofcaptains. concept ofhowsociety should function (Rbnnby andAdams1994: 68). they different. he likened itto a shipupontheocean. other ranks and crewbelow.In other place(Creighton situ1996). a characteristic of navalships intothemodern age. masters travel with their husbands craft where whole families livedaboard(Weibust 1969: 421. In themanyother by Dutchsocialdevelopments Western contexts where crews wereall male. comparisons are societies Shipboard referred to as 'mirror at largeor 'micro-societies'. (1978)observation that little ofanysort hadbeencarried outofshipboard is an imbalanalysis communities nowbeing anceonly andthat somewhat Where itis done.vanHolk 1997). presence norm ofseafaring as itwaspractised inthat to conform to thegendered time agreed and andNorling to becomemen.The warship was organized on similar lines. Evenwhere all thecomponents ofwider are apparently suchas on Dutchinland society present. It firstly and represented promoted the interests of the vestedpower as universal.Very occasionally successfully where their was tolerated becausethey others it was moreofan opensecret.someaddressed. shipvanHolk (1997:254-9)hasdetected ping.shipboard weretherefore societies atypical bydefinition.as Muckelroy areliableto be radically recognized.Evenon ships intheheyday ofsailthere werewomen as male masquerading their sex was sailors true concealed butin (Dugaw 1996).In effect they agreed ations a female was official. questions haverarely society beenaddressed in thearchaeological IndeedMuckelroy's literature. ofshipboard differentiation families according to class. images'of society whereas in most cases. It also suppressed contradictions or tensionsbetweenthe different social elementsthat . Rdnnby andAdams(1994:67-8)havepointed outthat rather than reflecting wider as itwas.steered bythefirm handoftheking. this varied to thetradeor the presence although according oftheship. hisviewoftheSwedish state andsociety.Thephysical counterpart ofthis construct reached itsapogeeinthe stern of vesselssuchas the Swedish carvings warship Vasa. Here theillustrious King II Adolph Gustav Vasais setabovegods. In summarizing thesignificance ofthewreck oftheRiksdpplet (1667).itis notjustthe ofan English-designed remains warship from Sweden's 'great power period' lying on the itis also a seventeenth-century seabed. An explicit society oftheideology example ofstate being expressed themetaphor oftheshipis found through in thewords oftheSwedish nobleman Axel In propounding Oxenstierna. thetiered is more system ofrank oftheideology a realization ofthose inpower than a direct reflectionofwider society. mythical heroes andbiblical leaders alike.influenced from c. inthepast. Of course where itis evident that as a male-dominated has developed seafaring practice.many society shipcommunities indicated howthoseinpower thought 'should' be. Thus thewayinwhich theseships wereconstructed and operated embodied ideology in such wholesale fashion as to include all threetypes proposed by Giddens(1984). with thenobleAdmiral at thetop. as in post-medieval this invites ofwider that Europe.Ships and boatsas archaeological sourcematerial 305 aremixed crews there havebeeninvarious so may However.thenofficers.
maritime on the lifeto thoseofwider ofshipboard society socialaspects ofrelating So in terms but in simplistic there analogies aredistinct dangers remains. theiruse. propaganda this a hiernecessitates ofseafaring nature thehazardous that Ofcourseitcanbe argued though thisis true. wider what society one can'readoff' from which underand needsthat aims in those of situation a to pursuit ofsocialattitudes shipboard ofthevesselinthefirst place. powerand status. of divisions and social aspectsand therelated bothfunctional of thevesselindicates such towards attitudes ofspacealso reveals The organization labour. ofspaceafforded inthevessel andtheamount located .Shepherd characteristic.one-eighth thushalf. thanon social class. in As notedabove. are therelated activities in terms ofwhere andprivacy. things in these arerelated them. and to an extent to maximize safety chainof command archical basedinrural societies shipboard By contrast. of common family One onlyhas to think or navigator. contexts.quarterand.g. anddisposition internal arrangement ofshipstructure.Adams 306 Jonathan lifeand social shipboard and reified and it naturalized theship'scompany. particularly withit correnumber of sharesone ownedbrought The greater became common. of order was thenatural crew oflifeanddeathovera subordinate hand'andthepower classoverthe oftheruling control theday-to-day that exceeded to a degree often things. property death.In suchcrews. Just practice therelations between . tarian or even thebondedagricultural on land. see Peterson influence sponding of sea-faring there are examples is concerned many Wherekinship theSea Venture). In turn. at thesametime The configuration ofequipment. comprised had the'whipelitewholiterally of a commanding Hence thehierarchy organization. forgenerations whohavenotonlybeen engaged families rolesin boatsand ships). develop fortheanalysis Thereis clearpotential thewayin has beenusedto infer as funerary them.thewayin which at large. a combination on boardmayaccruefrom Of coursestatus kinship. moreso in navaland military could have a moreegaliobjectives of moremercantile and in pursuit communities hiercontemporary wasevenmorethecase than In somecasesthis organization. ofmuchofpost-medieval typical laboursystems on theskill be dependent and to an extent accrueon thebasisofage and experience. society in contemporary populace general howsuccessful demonstrates norm to havebeen a universal assumed is still thissystem was. basisofthearchaeological inthequalities Muchofitis embedded there is considerable potential.notas passive reflections ofwider andactivities society totheorganization various ways butas translations must havebeenlike. of 1988on theownership on theuse oftheship(e. the means and ofoneperson vessels wasoften beyond ofsizeablemerchant Ownership shares in the case of largervessels. suchas in thesameactivity.wealthor rather personhad specialized. such as coxswain an is not exclusively to realizethatthis or Carpenter namessuchas Mason.suchas feudalism archical social structure might status Europe. as health. in whicha particular of thesefactors.butwhohave also had specific building fishing (or indeed. theconstruction pinned Prognosis and thewaysthey ofships and society.
perhaps grained' qualities remains from contexts their often extensively preserved aquatic mayoffer greater potential. Yet although maritime communication was extensive throughout this theboatrecord. ment.UK . so wreck which society arrangeandboats. S017 JBJ. Perhaps inthefifteenth innorthern clinker tocarvel construction EuropeandScandinavia century.The IronAge is populated somevery intervening bylogboats. what might intheuse ofwatercraft. of newfinds in thelight thatdemonstrate is rather thatthesituation more especially Butafter ofsteadily nautical complicated. the the limitations of attempting to understand Recentresearch has highlighted to rationalize ofwatercraft as technological complexities simply phenomena. The correlation between themanifestation invites ofchange and itssocialcontext its toother inthearchaeological A goodstart be record. has little inthediscussion. circumstances. perhaps archaeology wrecks willfind someofitsmost fascinating challenges. havebeendiscovfrom ered. An increasingly corpus (McGrail1996)is separated centuries from thenextplank-based byseveral building tradition (McGrail1995). University of Southampton. accessandpatterns inanyattempt to discern on thebasisofspecific mortuareknotty problems generalities the'finer ofships as structures and ary practices (Barrett 1988). inthearchaeological One ofthemost lacunae is theBritish boatrecord Iron tantalizing ofBronzeAge boatfinds rich Age. comprising a series ofthemost complex artefacts produced. suchas thePoole. 1984. internal reveals evidence wasorganized. major episodes in shipping. ofwidespread inthecontext andfundamental Yetwhen viewed social.Kristiansen1998). socialcollapse and technological revolution has been proffered to explainthe transitions thattook theBronzeto theIronAge (Champion Europefrom et al. agricultural innovation. invasions. would application apparent puzzles of theapparently lineardevelopment of Mediterranean a reappraisal shiptechnology.Brigg large. change wasgenerated. ofa specific set ofinterrelated was themanifestation technological change thecontext Thesecomprise within which bothsocialand environmental. reorganization. This.Everything climate change. so often focused on thehistorical itis inprehistory that themaritime ofshipperiod. be telling us aboutthis crucial phaseinprehistoric Europe? Centre forMaritime Department ofArchaeology Archaeology.Ships and boatsas archaeological sourcematerial 307 theconstruction. economic. period. Whereas there anddecoration ofships ofmovement. forty years maturing research. Attempts a series that havecreated ofproblems their linear evolutionary development apparently theone that hasgenerated most discussion is thechange from defy explanation. figured Notwithstanding thevagaries ofpreservation.Harding 1994. politithemystery likeother of cal andreligious dissolves. andHasholme finds andMcGrail butnoseagoing vessels (Millett 1987). fundamental changes whether trans-positions ordiscontinuities.
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