Historic Naval Architecture Practices as a Guide to Shipwreck Reconstruction: The <i>La Belle</i> Example

Taras Pevny

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Historic Naval Architecture Practices as a Guide to Shipwreck Reconstruction: The La Belle Example

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This article describes the experience of reconstruction of a ship built by a seventeenth century ship builder. The lower hull and partial cargo of La Belle were discovered in 1995 and excavated within a dry cofferdam. The hull was documented, disassembled, and subjected to additional recording and reassembled in order to conserve it as a unit. On the basis of the present remains, the hull was reconstructed and several aspects of design and construction were understood. The discovery of new information, whether in the process of the reconstruction of the archaeological remains or from documentary research, necessitated a reexamination and/or a reworking of earlier recordings, preliminary reconstructions, and working hypotheses. Studying the design of La Belle was to a great extent a circular process—much like a design spiral in modern naval architecture.

Keywords: shipwreck reconstruction; naval architecture; archaeological remains; documentary research; La Belle; excavation

Article.  8721 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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