(Under the direction of Professor Annalies Corbin) Department of History, May 2004.
This thesis delineates and assesses the relative importance of seawater properties and ship construction characteristics to deterioration rates of metal hulled shipwrecks. A history of metal ship construction and a brief outline of relevant seawater characteristics provide the reader with details germane to the study. After demonstrating the significance of the topic, a 1-14 scale of deterioration is presented. Using descriptions and pictures of wrecks in various locations around the world, over seventy wrecks are assigned a number on the scale which is then related to the vessel's sinking date. This method allows for assessment of the scale's efficacy and provides a baseline of the condition of metal shipwrecks around the world.