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by Archaeology Newsroom

Anonymous traditional shipbuilding and its contribution to the history of shipbuilding

The history of shipbuilding has been enriched with a lot of new data, the result of research on a considerable number of shipwrecks. Specialists of this field are steadily oriented towards the formation of an overall theory, which will provide a satisfactory interpretation of the shipbuilding technique and its evolution in the framework of the History of Human Civilization.

It has been commonly accepted that all shipbuilding techniques applied on wood -besides the simple ones for building a raft or pirogue- can be classified, on the basis of two groups: the first includes the “shell first’ and “skeleton first” category, while the second the “carvel built” and “cliker built”. It is significant that throughout the history of shipbuilding, all four categories mentioned above have been in use regardless time or place. In the cource of formation of an overall historic evolution of shipbuilding, certain elements deriving from the Anonymous Traditional Shipbuilding have been evaluated and taken into consideration. The purpose of this procedure was to facilitate the technical interpretation of archaeological and historical finds. Quite many scholars have already stressed the necessity, the Anonymous Traditional Shipbuilding

-often that of the Aegean- to be thoroughly studied. By the term Anonymous Traditional Shipbuilding (hereafter, ATS) we primarily mean the craft of shipbuilding that has until today survived through the oral tradition and has remained unaffected by the contemporary or eponymous technical achievements. The incapability as to determine more precisely the aforementioned term commonly occurs in every attempt of studying ethnological material and is usually balanced by employing one of the scientifically accepted methods of Ethnology. Important articles and papers on the ATS have been recently published in foreign countries and have considerably advanced the study of shipbuilding history. In spite of this progress, the demand for a meticulous and complete documentation and study of the Aegean ATS remains unfulfilled. The few monographies on the subject published so far are important. Still a collective project, well-planned and with perspective seems to be more than necessary.