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Title: Shipwreck taphonomy : a study of four historic wreck formation processes on the north coast of the Dominican Republic from 1690-1829
Author: Spooner, Simon Quentin
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2004
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The author has conducted research on historic shipwrecks on the north coast of the Dominican Republic since 1997; this has given him the authority to discuss, from first hand experience, the problems involved in the preservation of shipwrecks. These include the survival of the remains of the shipwrecks in their surrounding shipscapes. If maritime archaeologists were to understand how the wrecking process occurs, their effectiveness would be greatly enhanced. This work clearly demonstrates that the complete wrecking process can be reconstructed. This together with an interpretation of the archaeological evidence can produce the story of the sinking with a very high degree of accuracy. This thesis is a study of the taphonomic wreck formation of four shipwreck sites. These historic wreck sites have never before been investigated. The work examines: the Tile Wreck, an English or Dutch ship, which appears to have been wrecked in the 1690s; the Musket Ball Wreck, a locally made intra-Caribbean supply ship which probably sank in the 1790s; the Carron Wreck, which is an American prototype frigate of American - French design, built in the 1740-1760's, and which was beached in action during the French re-invasion of the island in 1802. The final wreck examined proves that, if the taphonomic process and the understanding of the shipscape are correctly investigated, the clues derived from the survey will produce an accurate wrecking model. Le Casimir (the Perfume Wreck), a French merchant ship which sank on April 27th 1829 at 11.30 pm, proved that a through understanding of the wrecking process can confirm what actually occurred. This work also addressesth e on-going debatea bout whether wreck sites should be surveyed and excavated after they have been uncovered by storms, or left alone for future generationsT. he researchp roved that in situ preservationo f shallow wrecks in the Caribbean does not work and, actually, may be detrimental to the very wrecks it aims to protect.
Supervisor: Horton, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available