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Archaeometallurgy of an 18th Century Shipwreck: The Sloop-of-war HMS Swift (1770), Santa Cruz, Argentina

Author(s): Nicolás C. Ciarlo

Year: 2013

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During the 18th century, the maritime context occupied an outstanding place regarding the process of transformation and geographic expansion of the main maritime powers, which had worldwide impact on social, political, and economical relationships. Within this context, many technological changes took place, some of them related to British naval metallurgy.


This paper presents the research results carried on the metallic artifacts from the sloop-of-war HMS Swift,lost off Puerto Deseado (southern Argentina) in 1770. Different categories of artifacts –e.g. ship equipment; artillery; furniture; and clothing– were studied by means of typological and physico-chemical analyses, the latter by applying light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, among others.


The data from this study have allowed to obtain new information related to the ship’s technology; and discuss some aspects regarding technical features of the artifacts, such as design, alloys, manufacture methods, novel characteristics, and specificity to the maritime environment.

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Archaeometallurgy of an 18th Century Shipwreck: The Sloop-of-war HMS Swift (1770), Santa Cruz, Argentina. Nicolás C. Ciarlo. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428634)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 577

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America