Digital Libraries in 3D for Maritime Archaeology: Dutch Merchant Ships 1595–1800

Author(s): John K McCarthy

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Historical Archaeology in a Digital Age (General Sessions)" , at the 2021 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

This presentation considers the value of 3D digital libraries to support maritime archaeological investigations of historic vessels, focussed on Dutch ocean-going merchant ships (1595 to 1800). During this time the Netherlands rose to become a leading maritime power. Despite prolonged scholarly interest , typological classification of ship design remains embryonic, as it does for many pre-modern vessel types. The rise of 3D underwater recording in the last decade has revolutionised maritime archaeological survey, but also offers a potential solution to these problems. A methodology is developed here for the creation of 3D libraries of ships. This is based initially on digitised contemporary scale models, an ideal dataset for defining and overcoming key challenges relating to measurement, scale, classification, data format and visualisation. This is then compared with other forms of spatial evidence, including scans of shipwreck on the seabed, and historic plans and charters.

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Digital Libraries in 3D for Maritime Archaeology: Dutch Merchant Ships 1595–1800. John K McCarthy. 2021 ( tDAR id: 459342)


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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology