I’m very excited an honored to have been featured on today’s Society for Historical Archaeology Blog! I know the internet is not exactly a new invention, but it has become such a wonderful tool for sharing information. The attention that this project has been getting, even now during its early stages has been very eye opening for me on the power of social media. Thanks Terry!
For those of you who have come across this site today because of the links on the SHA blog, welcome! I don’t have a terrible lot of content at the moment to share here on this site as the project is quite new, but please keep checking back as I update with the latest developments in research, and my daily updates from the field when my fieldwork begins.
If you are feeling particularly generous today, you can visit my funding page to help make the fieldwork that I am planning a reality. Any amount, no matter how small will be a major help in learning more about this possibly very early site. Thanks for your help!
This past week has been quite productive in developing my research plan. It has been my intention from the beginning of this project to examine ship’s logbooks and passenger journals, but I was not really quite sure how useful they would be aside from the information that was expressly written in them. After reading some work by economic historians, who attempted to describe ship performance using some data that I thought ill suited for such analysis, I found a use for these documents. Port records are simply unreliable in determining when a ship may have come in or out of port as the record keepers were not always diligent about recording this information. The logbooks however, can be used as a much more timely record of how quickly a ship could move between points, and give information into the external factors affecting the voyage such as storms and wind conditions. I will be submitting a short article out in the next weeks for publication in a peer-reviewed journal highlighting their usefulness, and plan to write a full length article on this topic after collecting more logbooks. For that, I will be making a trip to Oxford to the Bodleian Library, where I have heard of a cache of 11 seventeenth-century logbooks relating to voyages to the Chesapeake.
On a side note, thanks to Terry Brock, his fiance Ashleigh Heck, and Historic St. Mary’s City for sharing my funding link through various social media outlets. Actions like theirs really help highlight the usefulness of social media in the professional world. You can read Terry’s blog here.
*Note, the donation page has been taken down and we no longer require additional funds. Thanks to those of you who donated!*
You can help me get this fieldwork off the ground by donating to the project at http://www.gofundme.com/g0g2k! I am a self-funded PhD student looking for money wherever I can to help facilitate this research. A donation of any size will be very helpful. Grants are very competitive and have been few and far between for the humanities recently, but enough small contributions from the public can make a big difference. You don’t have to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist. Archaeology is the domain of the public, and the research we do, we seek to share with everyone. It is, after all, *our* collective past. We are hoping that the results of this study can be translated into a teaching tool for the visitors of Historic St. Mary’s City, many of whom are fourth-grade students on school tours, as they learn about Maryland’s (and America’s) early colonial past. Thank you in advance for any contributions!
Hello to anyone who may stumble upon this new blog, as well as friends, colleagues, and other interested parties. I have made this blog/site to help chronicle some exciting new research into the maritime cultural past of the early Chesapeake colonies. I am carrying out this research through the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology, under the supervision of Professor Jon Adams (Mary Rose, Sea Venture, Henry Grace’ Dieu, et al.) and advise of Professor Jon Oldfield.
The research is aimed gaining a better understanding of the role of merchant ship and port development throughout the seventeenth-century in the growth of the Chesapeake tobacco economy. At this time, Maryland and Virginia were the most prosperous colonies, and the tobacco producing colonies remained the most wealthy until the industrial revolution.
Throughout the life of this blog, I plan to update fairly frequently with new developments in my research. Perhaps the more exciting facet of this site though, will be the fieldwork section. I will be performing some underwater archaeological field work in the St. Mary’s River, MD, on a site thought by some to be the remains of a seventeenth-century merchant vessel. If this is the case, it will be the oldest ship remains known in the Chesapeake, and among the five oldest British sites of this type in North America. I do not yet know when fieldwork will begin, but ideally, this spring or summer. I will update daily during fieldwork, which is part of a collaborative study with Historic St. Mary’s City. The first season will be aimed at surveying the site, gathering data on its location in space, and a surface collection of diagnostic artifacts to provide a date/context for the site. The second season, if permits are granted, will be a limited excavation designed to gather ship dimensions, measure and test ballast, and identify other aspects of this ship. It should be very exciting when it gets off the ground.
So thanks for reading, and keep checking back for updates!