Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Iron anchors and mooring in the ancient Mediterranean (until ca. 1500 CE)
Author: Votruba, Gregory Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 4809 5977
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This dissertation examines ancient anchoring practice in the Mediterranean through ca. 1500 CE, as well as the history and technological developments of iron anchors, which are among the most important tools inherited from the ancient world. The methodology employed is holistic in synthesizing archaeological finds, textual, and iconographic evidence, and includes statistical and geographical analysis based on a substantial catalogue of ancient anchor finds. An experimental project is also included where anchor reconstructions were used in the sea and their utility tested. Mooring is one of the least studied aspects of everyday life for the people of the ancient Mediterranean. It has been elucidated that in most circumstances beaching would not have been a practical option, even for warships and the smallest cargo vessels. Rather, vessels were equipped with specialized gear for mooring off or near undeveloped shores. This included ship's boats enabling access to the shore. Lower draft vessels, particularly galleys, could approach unbuilt shores and employ mooring stakes and cables, and the ship's landing-ladder would be deployed into shallow water. Where available, however, ships would benefit from built quays which facilitated goods transport. The iron stock-anchor displays the greatest longevity of any anchoring tool, evinced as early as the 5th c. BCE, and appears to have achieved dominance over wooden types by the 3rd c. CE. From its conception the iron-stock anchor undergoes a broad range of gradual changes to its form and features. The earliest known finds take a 'V' form in the bulk-arms and gradually develop through rounded to 'T' and 'Y' forms in the Byzantine Period. The stocks evolve from removable iron types, to permanent forms entirely of wood. Reintroduction of upward-oriented arm designs from northern Europe around the 13th c. CE, and incorporation of hydraulic mechanized smithing developments, heralded a revolution of anchoring technology. Larger, stronger and more efficient anchors were being produced to standardized dimensions and quality, promoting larger ships, and ultimately resulting in novel characteristics of navigation.
Supervisor: Robinson, Damian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ancient Mediterranean ; anchors ; mooring ; iron anchors ; nautical technology ; ancient history