(Under the direction of Professor Lawrence E. Babits) Department of History, 1994.
The purpose of this thesis is to conduct a comparative analysis of wood use in eighteenth-century British and Anglo-American vessels. Research utilizes contemporary and modern historical sources to create a series of hypotheses pertaining to eighteenth-century ship timber trade and wood species selection. The hypotheses evaluate differences in wood species, selection due to origin, time, and/or use. The thesis' primary purpose is to determine the reliability of historical documents.
Wood samples from eighteen eighteenth-century vessels were examined to determine actual wood use. The vessels represent a variety of times, uses, sizes and origins to achieve a more holistic view of wood use in ship construction.
The hypotheses are tested against the archaeologically identified wood samples. The analysis compares predicted wood species, selection against actual construction use. The combination of archaeological and historical source material establishes a model for future study and a new perspective on eighteenth-century wood use.