Fire in the Hold: Construction and Use of the 1628 Swedish Warship Vasa's Galley.
(Under the direction of Dr. David Stewart) Department of History, January 2010
The galley of the 17th century Swedish warship Vasa is currently the only large 17th century naval galley available for study. It was surveyed by the author in 2008. While the galley's wooden structure remains largely intact to the present day, its fittings and layout are much changed. A digitally-aided reconstruction shows how it was filled with bricks, and that its large cauldron likely hung from a crane suspended from the aft wall. Documentary sources place the galley closer in historical context to a medieval terrestrial kitchen than to a 17th century kitchen. The galley's smoke bay is much the same as those installed in country houses during the centuries preceding Vasa's construction. In the final analysis, Vasa's galley is an inexpensive construct, valuing frugality over convenience. Yet, it would have been suitable to cook the sort of provisions provided to the crew by the Swedish Navy.