Shipbuilding and timber management in the Royal Dockyards 1750-1850 : an archaeological investigation of timber marks
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This work presents a study of shipbuilding and timber management in the Royal Dockyards in the period 1750 – 1850, focusing on an archaeological investigation of ship timber marks. The first chapter outlines the concept of timber marking in shipbuilding contexts, stressing the multi-disciplinary approach to the study highlighted in the available archaeological and documentary evidence by which the practice of timber marking can be understood. Chapter two outlines the background to timber marking in the Georgian era and the development of the practice within the broader advances made in shipbuilding, technology and design prior to the end of the 17th century. Chapter three outlines the developments in shipbuilding and the introduction of systems to control and standardise the management of timber in the Royal Dockyards in the 18th century. In the latter half of the 18th century we will see the attempts of naval reformers to develop these systems of timber management and pave the way for the sweeping changes made at the beginning of the 19th century. Chapter four highlights these changes with the introduction of the Timber Masters and looks at the nature of timber management and the marking of timbers as identified in documentary sources. This evidence lays the foundation for the understanding of timber marking in the 19th century as witnessed in the archaeological record. The remaining chapters present the much more extensive archaeological evidence for timber marking among several high profile assemblages. The main assemblages presented in Chapters 5 to 9 show the diversity of timber marking practices and how they relate to the working processes of the Royal Dockyards. The research offers new insights into the understanding of shipbuilding and the management of timber in the Royal Dockyards between 1750 and 1850 and explores the possibilities for further avenues of study.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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