The INA Quarterly
Volume 27 No. 1 Spring 2000
3 Developmental Research and the Need for Science
in Archaeology MEMBERSHIP
C. Wayne Smith Institute of Nautical Archaeology
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College Station, TX 77841-5137
6 Survey of the Velletta Harbors in Malta 1999 Station TX 77841-5137
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On the cover Cross section magnified view of wood treated with silicone oils. Photo: C. Wayne Smith.
March 2000 by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. All rights reserved.
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Editor: Christine A. Powell
and the Need for Science in Archaeology
C. Wayne Smith,
Assistant Professor and Director of the Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory
Scientists have repeatedly challenged the discipline
of artifact conservation by introducing new technology,
information, and research paradigms. Since 1996, the Ar-
chaeological Preservation Research Laboratory (APRL) at
Texas A&M University (TAMU) has pursued two goals:
First, to adapt conventional conservation strategies to bet-
ter suit our conservation needs. Second, to evaluate new
materials and methods for expanding the conservation tool
kit. In May of 1998, the United States Patent Office award-
ed Drs. Wayne Smith and Donny Hamilton of TAMU and
Jerome Klosowski of Dow Corning Corporation a patent
entitled Methods of Conserving Waterlogged Material.
The research leading to this patent shed new light
on the implementation and adaptability of polyethylene
glycol (PEG) in the treatment of waterlogged materials.
Polyoxyethylene polymers combined with crosslinkers and
catalysts are very useful in the preservation of waterlogged
organic materials. PEG is a form of polymer, so the addi-
tion of cross-linking chemicals and catalysts routinely used
in polymer chemistry can make it more stable for use as a
bulking agent within the damaged cell structure of water-
logged wood. By making PEG less soluble, conservators
can better ensure the structural stability of the artifact.
Research has proven that PEG can not be complete-
ly removed from the cell structure of waterlogged wood.
We can consider the material introduced into an artifact
as two subgroups. PEG that is in direct contact with the
cell walls of the artifact tends to polymerize naturally with
the starches, sugars, and lignum that are present in the
artifact. We cannot remove this PEG from the artifact with-
out causing extensive damage.
The second subgroup of PEG is not in direct con-
tact with cell walls. This free-flowing PEG in the voids be-
tween and in cells can be susceptible to changes in
temperature, humidity, and exposure to ultraviolet light
(fig. 1). As atmospheric changes occur, the physical char-
acteristics of this PEG fluctuate. If environmental factors
are not controlled, the unbound PEG migrates within the
cellular structure of the artifact. Eventually, the surfaces
of the artifact become pooled with PEG. This can cause
structural instability within the artifact and, all too often,
the loss of the very diagnostic attributes that needed to be
preserved. In the case of ships in museum displays, the
loss of PEG forms a drip line around the vessel, indicating
that structural problems may soon follow.
Additional research at APRL has proven that we
can successfully remove unbound PEG within the cell
structure of the wood without losing the diagnostic at-
tributes of the artifact (fig. 2). This aspect of our research
has been particularly useful for the re-treatment of arti-
facts previously treated using single or blended PEG treat-
Fig. 1. Cross-section view of the cell structure of PEG-treated Fig. 2 Similar cross-section view after CR-20 re-treatment. PEG has
wood. The majority of cells are filled with PEG. been removed from cell voids although PEG is visible on cell walls.
INA Quarterly 27.1
Photo: C. W. Smith
Fig. 3. Section of Vasa wood before re-treatment using CR-20
extraction. Note the waxy surface texture and appearance.
New Conservation Technologies at Work
On February 8, 2000, the team received a second
patent. The scope of research covered in this patent is much
broader than the first, and included fifty successfully de-
fended claims. Entitled Conservation of Organic and Inor-
ganic Materials, this patent outlines ways to preserve
artifacts using curable polymers cross-linked with trialkox-
ysilanes. This aspect of APRL's conservation work is known
as silicone research.
During the fall of 1999, Ingrid Hall-Roth of the Vasa
Museum and Carl Hemlin of the National Heritage Com-
mission of Sweden conducted research at APRL. The aim of
their joint research was to evaluate aspects of TAMU's sili-
cone technologies for use in re-treating PEG-preserved tim-
bers from the great ship Vasa. Before re-conservation, the two
samples of wood were weighed, photographed, and traced.
Extensive documentation was needed for post-treatment
evaluation of the dimensional stability of the samples.
The aim was to determine whether CR-20 silicone
re-treatment could preserve the structural and aesthetic
aspects of the samples. The researchers treated both sec-
tions of wood by immersing them in a warm solution of
CR-20, in a vented fume hood, for three hours. They then
removed them from the solution and allowed them to air
dry in a vented fume hood for several hours. In a matter of
minutes, both samples were very natural in appearance.
Neither sample had the waxy surface texture often associ-
ated with PEG-treated wood (figs. 3 and 4). Because free-
flowing PEG had been extracted, the samples were
substantially lighter after treatment. A comparison of pre-
and post-treatment tracings indicated that no shrinkage
or surface checking occurred as the result of treatment. The
technique is outlined in Report Two on APRL's web pages.
Apart from developing PEG technologies, conser-
vators at Texas A&M University have been working with
silicone oils for purposes of preserving archaeological
materials. This has been an exciting area of research. Like
PEG, silicone oils are polymers. Research has indicated that
these oils may have some benefits over PEG for the con-
servation of some organic waterlogged materials. Apart
Photo: C. W. Smith
Fig. 4. The same wood sample after treatment. Surfaces of the
wood are dry and feel like wood. After treatment, this artifact is
not affected by changes in humidity or temperature.
from the fact that preservation treatments using silicone
oils can be completed in a fraction of the time required to
preserve similar artifacts using PEG, there are other ad-
vantages. During treatment with PEG, individual cells of
the wood are filled with the bulking agent. This makes
post-treatment analysis of the wood difficult. In contrast,
silicone oils treatments tend not to fill cells with polymers.
Instead, the oils bond to the cell walls of the artifact and
the interior voids of teach cell tend to remain empty. This
makes post-treatment genus and species identification
possible. In this cross section view, the anatomy of the
wood sample is well defined (cover).
Intercellular migration is not a concern with sili-
cone oil treated wood. The polymerization process ensures
that the bulking agent is chemically bonded to cell walls.
In this state, the.artifact is not affected by environmental
factors and the artifact is easier to store and display in a
Joint Research with Western Australian Maritime Museum
Recently, APRL has been conducting joint research
with Dr. Ian Godfrey, artifact conservator and scientist at
the Western Australia Maritime Museum. We have been
working on preservation of ivory recovered from the Ver-
gulde Draeck (Gilt Dragon) wreck, lost in Western Australian
waters in 1656. The vessel was part of the Dutch United East
India Company fleet, commonly known as the VOC.
A twofold experiment was designed in conjunction with
Dr. Godfrey. Because of their ability to deeply penetrate organic
compounds and tightly bond with the cellular structure of or-
ganic materials, silicone oil processing was viewed as a poten-
tially good treatment strategy for the badly deteriorated ivory.
A test section of ivory, treated at the museum, confirmed
that silicone oils effectively stabilized the delicate tusk With
such positive results, two sections of tusk were sent to TAMU
for additional study and preservation using different sili-
The beginning stages of delamination were visible in
both sections of tusk (fig. 5). To prevent additional deterio-
ration, the artifacts were wrapped in cotton string prior to
INA Quarterly 27.1
treatment. After four days, both artifacts were completed.
Preservation with silicone oils did not affect the color or the
dimensional characteristics of the tusks (fig. 6). More impor-
tantly, after more than three hundred years, these artifacts
are can now be displayed with other artifacts from the VOC's
expeditionary fleet to Batavia.
New Perspectives-New Technologies
Conservation research at TAMU in the past five years
has contributed a number of useful techniques and materi-
als. These will assist in preserving waterlogged artifacts
for future generations to enjoy. As we answer questions
raised by our data, we learn to ask better questions. Ad-
vances have been promising, but the long-term best inter-
est of the artifacts must always be our primary concern.
The notion of complete reversibility is probably
unrealistic. In many cases, the act of trying to remove ma-
terials that have been introduced into artifacts causes more
damage than can be justified. Indeed, testing has proven
that PEG, which was once thought to be a completely re-
versible process, is not. Chemical bonding of PEG occurs
with polysaccharides, polyphenolics and water to form
complex bonds within the artifact. Like the bonds formed
with silicone oils, these chemical structures are not revers-
ible. Research is showing that the issues of longer stability
and re-treat ability better address the conservation man-
date of long-term well being of artifacts.
We have conducted repeated experimentation us-
ing accelerated weathering testing to evaluate the stability
of waterlogged archaeological glass that has been treated
using silicone oils. These experiments indicate that the glass
will remain stable for better than 250 years. Within this
period, re-treatment of the glass with silicone oils or tech-
nologies that are more conventional will restart the stabil-
ity time clock.
There is no single ideal approach to the conservation of
our archaeological resources. Each artifact has a unique history
to reveal and presents the conservator with a different problem.
At TAMU, we continue to seek new solutions to these conserva-
tion challenges. We also commend the conservation communi-
ty for undertaking the monumental tasks of preserving our
historical past for future generations to appreciate. a,
Smith, C. Wayne
1997 Re-treatment of PEG Treated Waterlogged Wood, Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory (APRL) Report
2. World Wide Web, URL: http://nautarch.tamu.edu/APRL/report02.htm
1998 "The Re-Treatment of Two PEG-Treated Sabots," Proceedings of the 7* ICOM-CC Working Group on Wet Organic
Archaeological Materials Conference. Grenoble: ARC-Nucleart Publishers.
The three patents: Methods of Conserving Waterlogged Material (5,789,087), Methods of Conserving Waterlogged Material.
(6,022,027), Conservation of Organic and Inorganic Material (6,022,589).
Fig. 5. End view of two sections of tusk conserved at APRL. Fig. 6. Side view of tusks after treatment using low viscosity
Prior to treatment, delamination was noted in both artifacts. silicone oils.
rNA Quarterly 27.1
Survey of the Valletta Harbors in Malta 1999
Ay e Atauz
Geographic and historical setting
INA conducted the first phase of a systematic survey
of the Valletta Harbors in Malta between October 2-18,1999,
with the permission of the Maltese Ministry for the Environ-
ment and under the auspices of the National Museum of
Archaeology in Malta. The Maltese Islands are situated in
the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the coast of
North Africa (fig. 1). The archipelago consists of three main
islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino), and three uninhabited
islets (Cominotto, Filfla, and St. Paul). The archipelago trends
northwest to southeast and is approximately 45 km in length,
the largest island having a surface area of 246 sq. km. The
island of Malta has no lakes, rivers, forests, or mineral re-
sources apart from salt. Fresh water is scarce, extracted from
the aquifer below its layers of limestone or created from the
sea by reverse osmosis. However, Malta has played a signif-
icant part in international affairs throughout history because
of its strategic importance and its fine natural harbors.
Although there are remarkable prehistoric structures,
we know little about the island before it was colonized by
the Phoenicians at the second half of the eighth century BCE.
It was then successively colonized by the Carthaginians, Ro-
mans, and Arabs. The Normans of Sicily took over Malta
about 1090 CE, the beginning of a long period of calamity
for the island. In the fifteenth century, Malta suffered pirati-
cal raids and pestilence as well as a disastrous famine, in
addition to the first attack by the Turks in 1488.
Malta was offered to the Knights of the Order of St.
John of Jerusalem in 1530 by Emperor Charles V as their new
base in the Mediterranean. They had been expelled from
Rhodes in 1522. The Knights turned Malta into a naval bastion
and trade center. In addition, they fortified the island, as they
feared another assault by the Turks. Their apprehension was
justified when, in 1565, the Turks launched an attack that is
known as the "Great Siege." Although the Knights were out-
numbered, they succeeded in holding their positions and came
through the battle. The Knights built a new fortified town, Val-
etta, after Jean de la Valette, the Grand Master who had led the
Knights to victory against the Turks in 1565. Successive grand
masters continued to improve the island's fortifications and
built new settlements, particularly around the Grand Har-
bor. The Knights' wealth brought prosperity to the island
and led to the expansion of the Maltese settlements.
This period of prosperity came to an end when Na-
poleon confiscated the possessions of the Knights in France
in 1792, which was followed by the French invasion of the
island and the departure of the Knights in 1798. French rule
was very unpopular and led to a rebellion of the Maltese,
who sought help from the British in 1800. Two years later,
the Maltese asked to be placed under British sovereignty.
Under the Treaty of Paris (1814), Britain formally annexed
Malta, having refused to hand the islands back to the Order
of Knights of St. John, then under suzerainty of its new but
short-lived Grand Master, the Russian Czar Paul.
Fig. 1. Malta and neighboring islands, showing the location of Valletta's harbor.
INA Quarterly 27.1
Malta was extremely valuable to Britain
throughout the nineteenth century because of its
strategic position in the Mediterranean. New mil-
itary bases were installed, the shipbuilding indus-
try was expanded, and the harbor facilities were
improved. During this period, a succession of con-
stitutions brought varying degrees of local repre-
sentation to the governing council as the islanders
advocated greater political freedom. In 1921 Mal-
ta was granted a constitution giving the country
considerable self-rule, although Britain remained
responsible for the islands' foreign affairs. The
dominant position of the Roman Catholic Church
in Malta was acknowledged by the British author-
ities, but was also a major source of tension in lo-
cal politics as well as ongoing constitutional
negotiation. During the Second World War, Mal-
ta played a crucial role in the Allies' Mediterra-
nean strategy and was subjected to very heavy
bombing and a naval blockade by Italy and Ger-
many. In 1964, the British Government agreed that
Malta should become independent under the con-
stitution approved by referendum.
Previous underwater investigation of Malt-
ese archaeological material included a French sur- Fig. 2.
vey in 1984. In 1988, a British-based archaeological
group (Specialist Archaeology Technology) carried out a sur-
vey in the Grand Harbor area. The survey included dredging
and the use of side-scan sonar and sub-bottom profilers, in ad-
dition to scuba-diving to investigate anomalies. Although anum-
ber of irregularities, corresponding to possible wrecksites, were
identified, the group was unable to come back the following
year and continue their exploration.
The 1999 INA Survey in Malta was a preliminary re-
connaissance. Objectives included the general examination
of the Valletta Harbors: the Grand Harbor and Marsamxett
Harbor (fig. 2). The focus of this short project was the inves-
tigation of the areas within the confines of the marina project
that involved construction activities on parts of the Valletta
waterfront, including the placement of bottom hugging pon-
toons. Previous research indicated that parts of the harbor
slated for marina construction were likely to contain ship-
wrecks, and priority was given to the selected sections of the
harbor that have not been dredged. Therefore, Dockyard
Creek, the main channel of the Grand Harbor, and Marsamx-
ett Harbor were the pre-determined survey areas.
The survey was accomplished with a Sea Scan PC
high-resolution side-scan sonar, coupled with a Geomet-
Valletta Harbors, detailing the area surveyed.
rics cesium magnetometer. The remote sensing system is
designed to locate large and small objects underwater in
zero visibility, and was chosen for this survey due to the
poor visibility and silty bottom conditions. INA Director
George E. Robb and INA Research Associate Ayse D. Atauz
operated the system. A GPS unit, used to give longitude
and latitude of the sonar targets, provided precision navi-
gation for the survey. Other elements of the survey includ-
ed diver inspections of selected areas of the sea bottom to
examine some of the sonar and magnetometer targets, or
anomalies. Unusual features noted in the sonar images
were reviewed and the more promising targets were iden-
tified for diver verification. The diving team, equipped with
hand-held magnetometers and surface communication
units, consisted of George E. Robb, Christian Swanson,
Andrew Wilson, Kevin Milligan, Ayse D. Atauz, Timothy
Gambin, Reuben Grima, Edmond Cardona, and Michael
Area 1: Dockyard Creek: Previous research indicated
that the Dockyard Creek, an area slated for marina con-
struction, was likely to contain archaeological material and
possibly shipwrecks (fig. 3). A coarse sand bottom covered
by a thick layer of silt characterizes the seafloor. Sonar sys-
tems are generally ineffective for finding materials buried
[NA Quarterly 27.1
beneath sand, and we had doubts about how
well a magnetometer would function in an en-
vironment with a very high concentration of
modem debris, including chains and other met-
al features. Consequently, a few track-lines were
first executed to test the equipment on October
The initial results seemed promising. In
general, the targets within the survey area ap-
peared to be flat, with no acoustic "shadow," and
most were crescent-shaped features with asso-
ciated magnetic anomalies, interpreted as chains
or pipe fragments that did not require further
investigation. However, one target southeast of
the ferry terminal off Vittoriosa was designated
as a diving location due to the sonar image. It
appeared tobe an area consisting of a pile of uni-
form ovoid features (of about 0.25 meters in di-
ameter) and with an associated magnetic Fig. 3. D
anomaly. Piles of rounded rocks are character-
istic of shipwrecks since hulls are often preserved under
the ballast. The extent of this site, 9 meters long and 4 meters
wide, bolstered the idea that it might be a shipwreck site.
We first dived on the target on October 7, 1999. The
team thoroughly investigated the area, though unfortunate-
ly without much success. The very low visibility within
Dockyard Creek, further degraded once the divers' move-
ments disturbed the silt bottom, prevented identification
of the target anomaly. This would continue to be one of
the most significant drawbacks for diving operations in
the area throughout the survey. However, the dives did
yield an important result: the rock-pile/anomaly in the
sonar image was apparently not on the surface of the sea-
floor and visible to divers; the side-scan sonar/magnetom-
eter was detecting features present under the protective
layer of mud and silt. Although, this compounds the diffi-
culty of locating wrecks with alacrity, it provided comfort
in the knowledge that they may at least be well preserved
and available for inspection at a later date.
The next day continued remote sensing defined an-
other target in the confines of Dockyard Creek, located on
the southwest of the bridge between the Vittoriosa Wharf
and the Angelo Wharf. Divers confirmed that the anoma-
ly was an anchor stock, just as it was determined to be in
the remote sensing record. Much to our disappointment,
it was not ancient. Still, we forged ahead.
The last area examined in the Dockyard Creek was
the site of a test trench excavated during the survey by a
French archaeological team in 1984. The objective was to
ascertain the extent of silt accumulation in the creek. The
French team worked the site previously by siphoning silt
and sand out of the creek, and recovered pottery dating to
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Our investigation
determined that the site has been completely re-covered
ockyard Creek may contain archaeological material and shipwrecks.
by silt in the past fifteen years. Only one fragment of pos-
sibly seventeenth century pottery, typologically similar to
the finds of 1984, was recovered.
Area 2: Main channel of the Grand Harbor: The second
survey area was the waterfront of Pinto Wharves (no. 1-
no. 5). However, the track-lines in this area were usually
extended towards the Ricassoli Point in order to cover the
central part of the Grand Harbor area (fig. 4). Therefore,
the entire area between the innermost part that was
dredged in 1981 and the breakwater on the northwest of
the Ricassoli Point was examined. Although extensive boat
traffic interrupting the survey presented an obstacle, two
possible shipwreck sites were located and defined as div-
ing targets, between Senglea Point and Saint Angelo Point.
Most other anomalies in the area surveyed were known
shipwreck sites. These confirmed that the equipment func-
tioned effectively, and were used as a tool with which to
compare new anomalies and to calibrate the equipment.
Another set of track-lines in Area 2 on October 9
1999, yielded an area of concentrated "rock-piles" around
the location of a previously located target, slated to be re-
visited. In general these mounds of rocks are spaced about
50-100 meters from each other, some having clearly asso-
ciated magnetic anomalies. The area is close to Senglea
Point, and (among the eleven targets detected) three were
identified as worthy of investigation. Unfortunately, it was
impossible to dive at this location due to heavy boat traf-
Area 3: Marsamxett Harbor: The scope of the remote
sensing survey in Area 3 included the entrance of Lazaret-
to Creek, the area to the southeast of Fort Manoel, and be-
tween the southernmost end of the Quarantine Hospital
building and the easternmost tip of the Ta'Xbiex (fig. 5).
Clay pipes, musket balls, and various terra-cotta artifacts
INA Quarterly 27.1
Fig. 4. The second survey area off the Pinto Wharves.
constituted the major groups of underwater finds in this
area. The artifacts were transferred to the National Muse-
um of Archaeology in Malta for further study. However, no
shipwrecks were located in the area.
The Maltese islands, especially the Grand Harbor
area, are extremely promising locations for further under-
water surveying. For instance, a French (Angevin) fleet was
completely destroyed by the Spanish (Aragonese) fleet in
1283 within the Grand Harbour. According to historical
sources, there is a possibility that at least two vessels that
reflect characteristics of warships of the period could be
preserved in the harbor mud. The archival manuscripts
studied by Fr. Eugene Teuma record that a num-
ber of vessels anchored in the harbor were lost
during a 1557 hurricane. The harbor had less
than adequate facilities at the time, and the
Knights of St John were completely unprepared
for such a disaster. Therefore, they salvaged part
of the perishables from the ships and abandoned
the vessels as total wrecks.
Another incident registered in the archi-
val material studied by Fr. Eugene Teuma in-
cludes information about the wreck of an
Ottoman warship flotilla in the harbor. During
the Great Siege in 1565, the Ottomans sent a flo-
tilla to attack the fortifications of Isla Point from
its unprotected side. However, the fleet was
completely destroyed by a hail of fire from hid-
den gun platforms. Chroniclers tell of swimmers
who recovered jewelry and silk clothing from the
creek during the months following the incident.
The existence of these "boats," each carrying some Fig. 5.
thirty or forty armed and equipped men, is well
documented. Since the recovery of the wrecks-
which contain information about Ottoman ship-
building techniques, weaponry, and artifacts from
the time of the Great Siege-was never previous-
ly feasible, it is most probable that these vessels
are preserved beneath the ubiquitous silt and
mud in the harbor.
Al .. IMost promising is the likely presence of a
large vessel in the harbor area, the Gran Carracca
Sant' Anna. This enormous vessel was built in Nice
in 1523 and was of 2333.5 tons capacity. She car-
ried 50 guns, a crew of 300 men and an armory
for 500. It is known that she was decommissioned
in 1548 but its bakery continued to provide bread
for the Order of St. John and the navy until 1751.
As Fr. Eugene Teuma brought to our attention,
Atauz there are representations of a large vessel anchored
inside Cottonera creek on the Palace frescoes. The
same vessel is marked on a number of sixteenth
century Great Siege maps, both from Christian and Turk-
ish sources. It is highly likely that these are representa-
tions of Sant' Anna. A detailed survey of the area might
serve to recover at least part of this important hull.
In addition to the ancient archival information, the
presence of at least 30 sunken wrecks of sizable ships (and
a number of aircraft) from World War II are recorded and
documented in other sources. The 1999 Survey was just
the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful
association of INA and the Maltese Ministry for the Envi-
ronment. This island, crossroads of trans-Mediterranean
shipping for the past five thousand years or more, offers
an unparalleled opportunity to study the developments
in shipbuilding technology, seafaring practices, trade, and
rnoto: A. Acauz
Area 3 concentrated on the vicinity southeast of Fort Manoel.
INA Quarterly 27.1
naval warfare. The Maltese government hopes to protect its
underwater heritage by beginning a comprehensive program
of research. It wishes to inform its people and the world at
large about its rich submerged cultural resources. Malta has
a dedicated group of professional and avocational archaeol-
ogists and historians willing to carry out the scientific work
of investigating and recording the underwater patrimony.
We plan to continue joint INA-Maltese surveys and wreck
assessments over the next several years in the Grand Har-
bor, and throughout the Maltese islands to that end.
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Reuben Grima (Curator, Archeological Site Management Unit), for his contri-
butions, Fr. Eugene Teuma for providing the background information regarding the possible shipwreck sites in the
survey area, and Edmond Cardona and Michael Spiteri, from the National Museum of Archaeology, who also joined
the INA team on the survey. Thanks are also in order for the crew of the Robo (Cristian Swanson, Andy Wilson and
Kevin Milligan), for their contribution to the survey, unending good humor, and being there first in the morning and
last home every night. Special thanks to Capt. Cristian Swanson for "driving the boat" into all the difficult spots we
wanted to survey, and diving with zest to investigate targets.
The Survey of the Valletta Harbors in Malta originated through the effort of Timothy Gambin, who contacted
INA through the U.S. Navy Historical Center. He deserves special mention for the many ways in which he facilitated
the survey and sought to make the INA team comfortable in Malta, and indeed in his own home.
Sincere appreciation is extended to Brett Phaneuf, director of the project, for his contributions regarding the
technical and scientific aspects of the survey and equipment, as well as logistical support. Lastly, George Robb, Jr., INA
Director, for providing both the funds, equipment, and, most importantly, the enthusiasm needed to undertake this
and all the other projects with which is involved on behalf of INA. Thank you. w
D. M. Boswell and B. W. Beeley
1988 Malta (World Bibliographical series Volume 64). Oxford.
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INA Quarterly 27.1
Grapes, Wine, and Olives:
Commodities and Other Cargo of the
Bozburun Byzantine Shipwreck
L. Dillon Gorham
Plant remains provide an exceptional source of ev-
idence about the ninth-century CE Bozburun Byzantine
shipwreck. This site was found off the southwest coast of
Turkey and excavated by INA from 1995 to 1998 (see INA
Quarterly 25.2 and fig. 1). The archaeobotanical assemblag-
es identify plant-derived cargoes and provisions, as well
as materials used to make ropes. We recovered fruits,
seeds, pollen, phytoliths (silica-bodies), and epidermal tis-
sues (fig. 2). Preliminary analyses indicate that these bo-
tanical assemblages are significant and valuable for the
interpretation of medieval subsistence, trade, and econom-
ics in the eastern Mediterranean basin.
Fig. 1 (below). The region surrounding the Bozburun
Fig. 2 (right). Distribution of the most common seeds,
fruits, and fish vertebrae from the Bozburun wreck.
Maps: L. D. Gorham
The Byzantine ship was a merchant vessel that car-
ried a primary cargo of over one thousand amphoras. Of
these, 970 were sufficiently intact for analysis, and are be-
ing studied in detail by Christine Powell (see TNA Quarterly
25.4, 4-). Greek graffiti on many of the containers, the style
of their manufacture, the location of the site, and dendro-
chronological analysis of the hull suggest a ninth-century
Byzantine context. The majority of amphoras appear to
have held wine. Other items of potential archaeobotanical
value were recovered, including eight ceramic jugs, nine
ceramic pots, two copper jugs, three glass goblets, one oil
lamp, fragments of plates and bowls, and rope.
INA Quarterly 27.1
The amphoras were of four major classes with volumes rang-
ing from eleven to fifteen liters (see INA Quarterly 25.45, fig. 3). This
is similar to the capacities of the small type 2 amphoras from the sev-
enth-century Yassiada shipwreck. Among the 456 whole amphoras at
Bozburun with contents, we analyzed 410. Of these, 332 produced seeds
or other visible organic material. Sixty intact amphoras were stoppered,
twenty-three of which contained seeds. The in situ stoppers themselves
included three that were ceramic, but the remaining fifty-seven were cam-
bium, or bark, of Pinaceae family trees. Fortunately, the Bozburun Project
recovered at least one stoppered container from each of the four classes.
Seeds were present in the majority of amphoras with graffiti. Two stop-
pered amphoras contained red, pulpy liquid, and several amphoras, both
stoppered and unstoppered, contained purple, pulpy, organic sediment
(lees). Grape seeds were the most abundant organic contents found. A
single stoppered amphora contained 7,585 seeds, while several contained
only one grape seed each. Grape seeds occupied 297 of the unstoppered
amphoras and were the primary contents of the two stoppered jugs. If
the amount of grape seeds in wine is a measure of refinement, the Bozbu-
run cargo of wine was quite diverse. Olives (Olea sp, [Tourn.] L.), were
the next most frequent seed type, occupying twenty-two amphoras, fol-
lowed by Pistacia sp. L. (terebinithus type) fruits, which were present in
eighteen amphoras, but always accompanied by grape seeds.
Class 1 amphoras dominated the site, representing 929 of the
970 discrete containers recovered. Of the 302 unstoppered amphoras
with organic contents, 298 were of the Class 1 category, as were all but Photo: D. Frey
one of the twenty-three stoppered jars that contained seeds. Parallels Fig. 3. Amphoras stacked in rows, probablyas they
for the Class 1 amphoras are known from medieval sites in Turkey, were in the hold of the ship at Bozburun.
Greece, and Italy. Similar ninth- and early tenth-century containers are
known from kiln sites in the Crimea (see INA Quarterly 23.4: 14-17).
The majority of Class 1 amphoras did not have graffiti Unmarked (complete) amphoras comprised 20 of the stoppered and
235 of the unstoppered Class 1 containers with organic contents. Thirteen unmarked amphoras were still stacked in rows, probably
as they were in the hold of the ship (fig. 3).
A well-stoppered amphora that contained red, pulpy liquid also contained several grape seeds (Vitis vinifera L., fig.
4) and a small, possibly immature, carob or bean fruit (Fabaceae family, fig.5). Pliny, in the first-century CE text Natural
History, notes that wine was made from carob. Other notable plant remains from unmarked, stoppered containers include
four that held ordy liquid (no apparent sand, etc.), two with grape "skins" in addition to grape seeds, and three with Pistacia
Fig. 4 (left). Vitis vinifera seeds.
Fig. 5 (below). A Fabaceaefruitfrom stoppered amphora Lot 9047.
INA Quarterly 27.1
sp. fruits (L.) accompanying the grape seeds. Pedanios
Dioscorides, born in Anazarbus in Cilicia, describes me-
dicinal drugs in the years 60-78 CE. In this work, De Mate-
ria Medica, he states that Pistacia fruits were used to flavor
wine. A few unstoppered jarscontained olives, grape seeds,
and Pistacia fruits together in the same container. Compara-
tively, four amphoras from the seventh-century Yassiada
shipwreck also contained both grape and olive seeds.
One unmarked, unstoppered Bozburun amphora
contained 917 grape seeds. Another unstoppered contain-
er (with a symbol similar to a reversed "K") contained 1,575
olive pits. Still another unstoppered amphora contained
fifty-eight Pistacia fruits. We recovered all three from the
area of the stem. Most unmarked, unstoppered jars, how-
ever, contained fewer than ten seeds, usually of grape. Dr.
Fred Hocker suggests that the provenience of the ampho-
ra with 1,575 olive seeds near the stern may indicate olives
as a shipboard ration, while Dr. Cheryl Haldane, citing sev-
eral medieval documents, suggests that shipboard diets usu-
ally excluded olives. A compromise solution may be that
olives were consumed on board the Bozburun vessel, but by
officers (or passengers) other than the lower-class crew.
Graffiti found on Class 1 amphoras includes Greek
letter combinations such as AN, EPIS, GE, LE, LEON, and
NIKITAS, and a symbol that resembles a tree. Amphoras
marked AN (Anastasius?) and GE (Georgios?) represent the
most numerous categories of containers with graffiti, and
were the only types that frequently contained seeds. The only
stoppered amphora marked AN contained four grape seeds
and one Pistacia fruit. Twenty unstoppered AN containers
had a range of grape seeds from 192 to a single seed, while
one contained no seeds. Like some of the unmarked ampho-
ras, nine marked AN were also still stacked in recogniz-
able rows. One stoppered amphora with graffiti type GE
contained thirty-five grape seeds. Nine unstoppered GE
amphoras contained grape seed quantities ranging from six-
ty-three to a single seed. An unstoppered GE amphora pro-
duced a single almond (Prunus amygdalus sp. [Tourn.] L.).
Amphoras marked with LE, LEON, and the "tree"
symbol were represented in the seed assemblage by only
one jar each, and those contained only grape seeds. An un-
stoppered amphora marked LE had two seeds, while an
unstoppered amphora marked LEON contained 423 grape
seeds. The "tree" symbol is known from contemporaneous
sites in Greece and the Crimea. An unstoppered container at
Bozburun with this symbol contained 195 seeds. Amphoras
marked NIKITAS and EPIS did not contain seeds, but an
amphora marked EPIF contained 94 grape seeds.
Hocker suggests that the graffiti represent owner-
ship, and, in the case of graffito type AN, possibly even a
passenger on board the ship. A similar interpretation of own-
ership is suggested by Dr. Fred van Doorninck for ampho-
ras found with the seventh-century Yassiada shipwreck, and
amphoras of the eleventh-century Serce Limaru shipwreck,
some of which were clearly marked LEON. It is worth not-
ing that Byzantine commerciarii and warehouses are known
from lead seals to have existed at least until the eighth centu-
ry. These institutions may have evolved in the ninth century
into more privatized organizations that facilitated the pur-
chase of agricultural produce by "middlemen." Peacock and
Williams note that graffiti in capital letters on the shoulders
of Dressel 20 amphoras name the navicularnus, or shipper.
Only five containers from the other three classes of
amphoras (out of almost one hundred total) are included
in the seed assemblage, and these only contained grape seeds.
A stoppered Class 2 vessel contained 7,585 grape seeds, which
was the highest count from the site. The extremely high quan-
tity of seeds may indicate the former presence of grapes or
raisins. According to Pliny, grape "bunches" (technically,
panicless") were stored in jars, grapes were preserved in
must, and raisins were soaked in wine. An unstoppered Class
2 amphora held a single grape seed. It may be important
that the Class 2 jars have significantly larger mouths than
the other classes, which may have allowed the loss of seeds
to water currents and other means.
There were only two stoppered Class 3 amphoras,
and neither contained seeds. However, we found seven-
teen grape seeds in an unstoppered Class 3 container. Paral-
lels for Class 3 amphoras are known from Crimean kiln sites
and from the southeastern Crimean coast. The only stoppered
Class 4 amphora did not contain seeds, but two unstop-
pered containers held twelve and fifteen grape seeds.
The range of grape seed quantities in unstoppered
amphoras is similar to that in stoppered amphoras. The
upper range of seed quantities of grape, olive, and Pistacia
in unstoppered amphoras is well beyond statistical proba-
bility for contamination. It is also possible that a "secondary
in-situ condition" exists, meaning that intrusive elements, if
present, originated from the ship itself, and not from the en-
vironment. The amphoras at the Bronze Age Uluburun ship-
wreck contained many small, inorganic artifacts. Cheryl
Haldane explained these as originating from the ship, and
entering the amphoras during the shipwreck's disintegra-
tion. Additionally, Haldane conducted an experiment in
which she left an unstoppered amphora full of seeds on
the seafloor for three months. She observed only the loss
of a few seeds; no new seeds arrived. The comparative time
scale, however, may be problematic. Environmental and
biological causes for the loss of amphora contents were
probably a factor at Bozburun, but probably only for the
upper levels of amphoras, which, for the most part, were
not intact. Even if a few seeds were lost in the lower levels
of intact amphoras, it is not likely that this would affect
our interpretation. Twenty grape seeds as the contents of
an amphora are not dramatically different from thirty.
We have also discovered other seeds and fruits at
Bozburun. One unstoppered amphora contained a degrad-
ed pine cone (Pinus sp. [Tour.] L.), two contained single
INA Quarterly 27.1
Photo: L. D. Gorham Photo: L. D. Gorham
Fig. 6. Seed andfruitsfrom amphora Lot 9969. A) cf Liquidam- Fig. 7. Fish vertebra (two views) from amphora Lot 8319 at
bar; B) Olea europea; C) Anacardiaceae (cf, Pistacia terbin- Bozburun.
thus); D) unidentified nut shell fragment,
cypress cones (Cupressus sp. Tour. ex. L.), two contained
oak acorn cupules (Quercus sp. [Toum.] L.), one contained
a degraded sweet gum fruit (Liquidambar sp. L.), and three
contained almonds (fig. 6). All except cypress cones were
found in the site sediment matrix. However, the items in
the amphoras could represent intentional additives. Pliny
notes that wine was made from "fir-cones" and parts of
cypress trees. Almonds were also added to wine in antiq-
uity. Archaeologists found two almonds in amphoras at
the eleventh-century Serge Limani shipwreck.
In addition to plant remains, small fish vertebrae
were present in two stoppered and eleven unstoppered
amphoras, including one with four vertebrae (fig. 7). One
of the stoppered containers with fish vertebrae was
marked TIMOTHL. Again, these may have been inten-
tional additives. Pliny notes thatallex, or sediment of garum
(fish sauce), was made into a beverage. Casiano Baso's sixth
century CE study of ancient Greek agricultural practices, the
Geoponica, cites a contemporaneous recipe from Bithynia, on
the southern coast of the Black Sea. This called for the addi-
tion of two parts wine to one part garum. A modern "fish
wine" is also produced in Turkey today.
Preliminary analyses suggest that the majority of
seeds found inside both the stoppered and unstoppered
amphoras represent original contents. Aside from the
well-known economic types (grapes, olives, and Pista-
cia), passages from the Natural History indicate that plant
sources for wine and wine additives include seeds,
fruits, flowers, and fibrous tissues of many woody and
herbaceous species. However, it is possible that seeds
found at Bozburun such as Althea sp. [Tourn.] L. (hol-
lyhock, etc.), Euphorbia sp. L., Poterium sp. L. (thorny
burnet), Rumex sp. L. (curly doc), Vitex sp. Tourn. ex. L.
(chaste tree), and a single seed that resembles Aizoace-
ae Telragonia sp. L. (mesembryanthemum family) are
intrusive. Even stoppered containers might suffer acciden-
tal inclusion during the functional life of the amphoras, to
say nothing of the possibility of post-submergence intru-
Thorny burnet seeds were also present in ampho-
ras of the seventh-century Yassiada shipwreck, causing
Fred van Doorninck to speculate on the use of this plant as
dunnage, as in the Uluburun shipwreck. Thorny burnet
may have been used in this manner at Bozburun, but there
were no large, caches found among the amphoras. Other
seeds suspected to be intrusive include Vitex (also known
as the chaste tree). This was familiar to the Greeks and Ro-
mans for its medicinal uses, as a source for yellow dye,
and as a drug to (supposedly) subdue sexual appetites.
One of the well-sealed amphoras containing red,
pulpy liquid, like all the amphoras with purple, organic
sediment, contained high quantities of Vitis (grape) pol-
len. This is not surprising, but it is significant, because
grapes are insect-pollinated plants, therefore not produc-
ing large amounts of pollen. Vitis pollen is rarely found in
environmental assemblages; when it is present, the quan-
tities are extremely low. When Vitis pollen occurs in quan-
tity, it indicates a concentration of grapes or grapevine
derivatives. The deposition of Vitis pollen can be from the
process of making wine from grapes alone, but Pliny also
mentions wine manufactured by the addition of two
pounds of wild vine flowers to a jar of must.
Several amphoras contained large quantities of pol-
len from plants other than grape. Pollen of the Cupressaceae
family was abundant in two well-stoppered amphoras.
This is unusual, due to the fragile, thin-walled nature of
these pollen grains, which usually results in poor preser-
vation at best. It is possible that this pollen type preserved
well due to the protected, and formerly acidic, environ-
ment that promotes pollen preservation. Pollen of this size
INA Quarterly 27.1
and shape (with a lack of ornamentation on the surface of
the grain) represents trees that include cypress and juni-
per (Juniperus sp. Tourn. ex. L.). The abundance of this pol-
len probably indicates the addition of flowers or other parts
of these plants to wine; three unstoppered amphoras each
contained a cypress cone. Pliny notes that wine was made
with cedar, cypress, and juniper shrubs, and from the flow-
ers of other herbaceous plants. One stoppered amphora
also contained a large quantity of cultivated grass pollen
(cerealia), which may represent an additive as well.
However, it is also possible that all these pollen inclu-
sions merely represent exposure of the wine to open air dur-
ing the flowering season of Cupressaceae trees, common in
the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea regions. If the pres-
ence of this particular pollen type represents "background" veg-
etation and exceptional
preservation then it may
not be accurate to as-
sume intentional indu-
sior. Without knowing
the preservation rate, we
cannot compare these
relative abundances to a
assemblages that repre-
records in antiquity.
In addition to
plant and fish remains,
amphoras also con-
tained small amounts
(less than 100 ml) of sand,
clay, and pulverized d e
shell fragments that en-
tered through spaces be-
tween the stopper and Fig.8. Pollen from Bozburun. A) C
the amphora mouth, d) Poaceae; e) Poterium;f) Vitis. S
However, the two well-
stoppered amphoras contained only liquid, grape seeds, and
purple, organic sediment The unstoppered jars held their
seeds within a matrix of sand and clay that at times com-
pletely filled the containers.
Several unstoppered amphoras contained stratified
sediments composed of gray layers of clay covering a pur-
ple organic layer in the bottom of the amphora. Pollen from
the clay layer was typical of the site sediment matrix, while
the purple organic sediment was dominated by grape pol-
len. This provides evidence of wine in these containers.
Some of the intact, unstoppered amphoras were ob-
served to be dwellings for octopi, and were probably homes
to many other marine animals, right up to the time when
the amphoras were removed from the site. The "octopus
amphoras" contained many crab and other shell fragments,
and sediment with a distinct texture and odor. Crabs are
the favorite food of the octopus. We analyzed sediments
from two amphoras in this condition. The pollen from these
amphoras was mostly from Poterium and Quercus, but the
concentration values were too low to be considered accu-
rate. Likewise, no seeds were found in amphoras that con-
tained large amounts of crab shell fragments. Therefore,
we avoided pollen analysis of sediments from the other
amphoras with large quantities of shell fragments.
Two of the eight intact jugs were still stoppered. One
jug contained 2,680 grape seeds, five whole grapes, and
two Pistacia fruits (terebinthus type), while the second con-
tained 3,362 grape seeds and fifteen whole grapes. The jugs
were found near the stem, and are suspected to be part of
Photo: L. D. Gorham
eratonia; b) Cupressaceae c)Mentha;
cale bars all equal 20 p-
the ship's rations, as
were jugs of similar
volume found in the
same relative locations
on the seventh-century
Yassada shipwreck. Pol-
len assemblages from
the two stoppered jugs
included Vitis and Lami-
aceae (mint) (fig. 8). The
amount of mint family
pollen (compared to the
local environment) sug-
gests that spices were
added to the contents
of the jugs. Medieval
Arabic authors men-
tion the use of syrups
made from raisins and
other fruit. The Sas-
sanid Persians used
and fruit juices as mar-
inades for meat Pliny's Natural History mentions wine made
with wild mint, so the use of mint in condiments is a possi-
bility for Bozburun.
A large amalgamation of pitch, probably spilled
from a container, was recovered from the hull. The copi-
ous Poterium pollen in the Bozburun pitch sample suggests
that some part of the thorny burnet shrub, such as the pa-
pery fruits, may have been a principal component of the
pitch found at Bozburun. We can make the same argument
for the abundance of non-cultivated grass pollen present
in the pitch, though the evidence is not as strong. Other
pollen present included types not found in other archaeo-
logical samples, such as beech (Fagus sp. L.) and walnut
(Juglans sp. L.). The environmental pollen assemblage in
INA Quarterly 27.1
rnuu; Lv. rrey
Fig. 9. Rope fragments preserved underwater for over 1,100
the pitch may indicate a particular geographic region, as
was the case with resin from some Roman containers. The
natural properties of pitch make it a good pollen "trap"
that protects the grains from environmental degradation,
and isolates pollen trapped in the pitch's liquid state from
subsequent contamination. In the laboratory, we reduced
a fifty-cubic-centimeter piece of pitch to twenty cubic cen-
timeters by removing the outer layers, ensuring that the
"core" had no surfaces in contact with the site sediments
Pitch was also present on the inside rims of the
mouths of many amphoras, and was the sealing agent for
those that remained stoppered. In a few cases, we found
pitch at the bottom of an amphora, but this appeared only
to have dripped down when a stopper was sealed.
Other artifacts and environmental samples
Sediments from the remaining artifacts revealed pat-
terns that were similar to the modem pollen assemblages
for the site sediment matrix and for the region. These in-
clude high percentages of pine and thorny buret, both
common on the rocky cliffs surrounding the inlet. The
abundance of thorny bumet and pine in one stoppered
amphora illustrates the variations in stopperedd" states.
In this case, the amphora was poorly stoppered. This al-
lowed a dominance of environmental types,judging from
the similar abundance of pine pollen and others in the site
The sediments suspected to be bilge mud had sim-
ilar texture and color to the site sediment matrix, together
with its abundance of pine pollen. This indicates that the
mud is probably post-depositional, and not composed of
sediments that accumulated in the bilge during the func-
tional life of the vessel.
rnoto: L. . jurnam
Fig. 10. A diagonal row of spherical phytoliths in the botanical
tissue of rope.
In the absence of bilge mud and caulking, contain-
ers were the only source of environmental pollen assem-
blages that might be contemporaneous with the functional
life of the ship. The only containers that do not possess
pollen assemblages similar to the site sediment matrix are
the well-stoppered amphoras. These contain assemblages
that mostly reflect their contents, rather than a typical en-
vironmental "signature." Seven stoppered amphoras con-
tain pine, oak, and thorny buret, and six of these also
contain olive. The two that contain Ceratonia sp. L. (carob)
do not contain Chenopodiaceae/Amaranthus sp. L (goose-
foot). Presently it is not clear whether these assemblages
are useful for the identification of regional vegetation.
However, the overall species composition does not con-
flict with modem or ancient local assemblages up to 3,200
Fig. 11. Plant epidermal tissue from the rope.
INA Quarterly 27.1
We collected three comparative, environmental sed-
iment samples for pollen analysis. A modem environmen-
tal sample composed of approximately 20 "pinches" of
sediment was collected from points along the roadside in
Selimiye, the nearest town to the archaeological site. We
took clay and sand samples directly from stratified layers
of the site sediment matrix. Oak dominated the terrestrial
sample versus Pine in the underwater sediments. This may
reflect the modem (and ancient) dominance of pine trees
on the slopes opposite the bay of Selimiye, and on a small
peninsula on the Selimiye side of the inlet, versus the pres-
ence of oak in the town itself. The stratified layers of sedi-
ment on the site are significant for the environmental pollen
assemblages they contain, and suggest that the regional
vegetation has not changed significantly in the last eleven
The rope from Bozburun (fig. 9) is derived from genera of
the palm family (Arecaceae), known for its use in ancient
rope making). Hourani, in Arab Seafaring, states that rope
was made from the coconut palm (Cocos sp. L.) in the Me-
dieval period in the Maldives and Laccadives (modem
Lakshadweep) in the south Arabian Sea and north Indian
Ocean. The Bozburun rope appears to be of the sub-family
Chamaedorea (fig. 10 and 11). Some taxonomists include
the coconut palm in this sub-family, some do not.
The archaeobotanical assemblages reflect the func-
tion of the cargo ship found at Bozburun. The variation of
graffiti that probably represent ownership of the ampho-
ras, combined with the sheer quantity of items, suggests
that this assemblage represents a commercial venture, in-
terspersed with onboard rations of olives, grapes, and con-
diments. The Bozburun ship and cargo fit nicely into the
predicted framework of long-distance exchange, and ex-
emplify several aspects of trade. These include the relative
abundance of amphoras compared to other ceramics on-
board during a commercial trip. Amphoras are indirect
indicators of economies driven by agriculture, since their
organic contents are the real commodity. I plan more ex-
tensive analyses of the variation that exists in the quanti-
ties and types of seeds, pollen, and other archaeobotanical
components. I will compare frequencies both among and
between groups of amphoras defined by such variables as
the presence or absence of graffiti, graffiti types, style of
manufacture, and spatial analyses of the cargo in the ship.
This may reveal more subtle aspects of viticulture and
maritime commerce in the Byzantine Empire. a*
Acknowledgments: I would like to thank the following individuals and organizations: Fred Hocker (Director, Bozbu-
run excavations), Oguz Alpozen, George Bass, Amy Borgens, Vaughn M. Bryant, Jr., Gil Dolen, Esra Altnarut-Gbksu,
Claudia Gorham, Matthew Harpster, John G. Jones, Xila Matthews, Arlene Miller-Rosen, Troy Nowak, Asaf Oron,
Harun Ozdas, Christine Powell, C. Wayne Smith, Phillip Sweeny, Ken Tretheway, Mina Weinstein-Evron, the Smoth-
ers Foundation, and the board, staff, and members of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
1998 Geop6nica o Extractos de Agricultura de Casiano Baso, Translated by M. J. Meana, J. I. Cubero, and P. SAez. Madrid:
Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentaci6n, monografias inia nimr. 100.
Bryant, V. M. Jr., Murray, RI E., Jr.
1982 "Preliminary analysis of amphora contents." In G. F. Bass and F. H. van Doomick, Jr. (eds.), Yassi Ada: A Seventh
Century Byzantine Shipwreck, Volume I. Appendix E: 327-331. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
1991 "Recovery and Analysis of Plant Remains from Some Mediterranean Shipwreck Sites." In J. M. Renfrew (ed.),
New Light on Early Farming: Recent developments in palaeoethnobotany, 213-223. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University
Hourani, G. F.,
1995 Arab Seafaring in the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Early Medieval Times. Revised and expanded by J. Carswell.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
1952 Natural History, Translated by H. Rackham. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
INA Quarterly 27.1
by Mark A. Feulner I
The La Salle Expedition to Texas: The Journal of Henri Joutel, 1684-1687
Edited by William C. Foster and translated by Johanna S. Warren
Austin, TX: Texas State Historical Association, 1998
ISBN: 0-87611-165-7, 350 + x pages, 7 illustrations, 15 maps, index,
notes, hard cover.
An important event m the history of a nation need not be a great .
success. In truth, what can be learned from even the most unsuccessful
venture can be of enormous value and great interest. The doomed at-
tempt by the Sieur de La Salle to establish a settlement at the mouth of
the Mississippi River is just such an event. The story of this fated expe-
dition is dramatic and interesting, but the journal of La Salle's associ-
ate Henri Joutel offers much more than an exciting tale. It provides a
depiction of social customs during the late seventeenth century and of
how Europeans functioned in the New World. The journal documents
the hard work and difficulties faced by settlers during the colonization
of North America. Perhaps most significantly, it details the environ-
ment of the early Texas coastal region by vividly describing the flora,
fauna and native peoples of the area. These aspects of Joutel's story are greatly enhanced by William Foster's contribu-
tions to the book as editor.
Foster begins this work with an extensive introduction which sets the stage for Joutel's story. It provides a thor-
ough biography of the main character-La Salle-and explains what brought him to the Gulf of Mexico. However, Foster
takes his introduction even further: He presents a comprehensive description of the natural history of Texas and its
ecology. He discusses the political climate in which the expedition took place, as France vied with Spain to establish
itself in the New World. Foster also examines the geographical questions presented by this manuscript, and reviews the
ethnographic contribution made by Joutel in documenting the native populations he encountered on the central Texas
coast and along the middle Mississippi River.
Following the introduction, the book launches into Joutel's account. Beginning with the expedition's departure
from France, the narrative follows its journey to North America and the establishment of Fort Saint Louis on the Texas
coast. Joutel chronicles the daily life at the settlement and the troubles the colonists experienced with the local native
population. He also provides a justification for his actions and decisions during La Salle's absence from the fort. The
story then follows the fateful journey to the Mississippi, during which La Salle and several others were assassinated,
and closes with Joutel and a few companions headed for Canada on that river.
Throughout his narrative, Joutel appears to strive to maintain objectivity, even in the face of his obvious loyalties
to La Salle. His dedication to keeping an accurate journal can be seen in the detail in which he describes the people,
places and other things encountered on his journey, as well as the significant events. Joutel addresses the other ac-
counts that were offered by his companions, using them to describe occurrences that he did not witness and explaining
any discrepancies encountered.
Foster keeps pace with Joutel's narration with extensive footnotes. These notes help bring the story into focus by
linking what Joutel writes to the observation of other explorers and to what is known today (whether it involves the
local vegetation or the customs of a particular tribe of natives). Throughout the text, Foster points to particular passages
supporting his ideas concerning geographical locations, while examining the opposing arguments. He also addresses
other translations and accounts, justifying his editorial choices and divergence from these other texts. The book is
further enhanced by Foster's selection of maps and illustrations. Foster provides several informative appendices, one of
which includes the interrogation of one of the settlers captured by the Spaniards, as well as a daily travel itinerary and
a comprehensive list of native tribes encountered by the expedition.
Henri Joutel provides a captivating story augmented by Foster's contribution. The two provide an engrossing
account, the dramatic adventure of a French settler and the dutiful documentation of a Texas that no longer exists. Such
a narrative is equally valuable to the historian, the anthropologist, and the layman. r
INA Quarterly 27.1
by Christine Powell
Conservation and Care of Collections
Edited by David Gilroy and Ian Godfrey
Western Australian Museum, 1998
ISBN: 0-7307-1215-X, 181 + viii pages, 82 color and 10 b/w plates, 17
drawings, references, bibliography, appendices, glossary, index, soft-
The conservation and care of artifacts isa very specialized field but one
that is continually expanding. As with many such areas of study, continued
research provides new and innovative techniques for conservators. Howev-
er, good, clear, and concise books that span the wide range of conservation
problems are rare. This makes A Practiam Guide to the Cosemtiona and Care of
Collations a real find. This valuable reference work is not for the full-time
conservator alone, but also for those responsible for movable collections held
in small museums, historical societies, and private collections. It will also in-
form students and the general public.
The format is well designed to be clear and easy to follow. This allows
the reader to quickly fnd the information needed without reading the whole
section on a given substance or treatment The authors take great care to con-
centrate on the material of the item rather than on the item itself. The idea is to give a broad understanding to the treatment of a
substance, rather than of an individual artifact However, the book does not ignore specific artifacts. The final section on case
studies shows hands-on methods for conserving a variety of specific items and aims to provide a guide to treatmentsE
The first chapter, "Preventative Conservation," may be the most valuable to those responsible for existing collections It
presents ways to avert damage and anticipate problems before they arise. It discusses light, humidity and temperature, biological
pests, pollutants, dust, storage and display, handling, and packing in depth. Chapter two discusses mold and insect attack in
collections. This gives detailed information on detecting problems, treatments and preventative measures, and monitoring collec-
tions afterwards. General artifact treatments and ethics are covered in chapter three. The discussion of when to conserve or restore
provides excellent guidelines for those new to curation.
Each subsequent chapter deals with a single set of related items grouped by material Included is an introduction that
comprises a brief history of the item being discussed, general and specific information on the component, and details of how to
identify processes and techniques to use on that particular material Processes at work on the artifact are discussed in the deteriora-
tion section, while solutions to the agents of decay and the subsequent storage of artifacts are tackled in the preventative conserva-
tion and treatments sections. The summary gives a brief but adequate checklist to guide the would-be conservator. The authors
subdivide several types of materials for the ease of the reader. They discuss metals, for example, generally and then individually.
Each chapter in the book provides a bibliography of readings geared specifically to the material discussed in that chapter. These
aids to further research are themselves a most valuable part of the work.
Nautical archaeologists will probably turn directly to the penultimate chapter of A Practical Guide to theConser~tion and Care
ofCollections, which is devoted to wet materials. They might be disappointed. The chapter provides only Limited information about
the details of treating materials recovered from marine, freshwater, or saturated sites. However, the treatment of waterlogged
artifacts is such a specialized field of conservation that a detailed discussion would require a volume of its own. The chapter does
offer the most critical information for a field archaeologist, namely how to recover, protect and transport wet materials until they
canbe treated by a trained conservator. Providing a "cookbook" of detailed treatments in a work like this might tempt amateurs to
risk destroying valuable artifacts by attempting conservation treatments beyond their level of skill and experience.
Excellent photographs clearly illustrate important points discussed in each chapter, while simple but effective line drawings
quantify different aspects of the materials. Tables aid the reader in rapidly absorbing technical details that can become tedious
when incorporated in the main body of the text
The editors provide the reader with severalwarnings. They are quick to point out that this is only a guide and that the reader
should exercise caution before undertaking specific treatments. This is not the definitive work on the conservation and care of
artifacts, but it is an excellent start All collectors (whether of memorabilia or significant works of art), museums, conservators, and
students should have this reference in their library as a stepping stone to further knowledge. a,
INA Quarterly 27.1
INSTITUTE OF NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
George F. Bass, Co-Founder
Jack W. Kelley, Co-Founder
Jerome L. Hall, President
William L. Allen
lohn H. Baird
George F. Bass
Edward O. Boshell, Jr.,
Co-Chairrman and Treasurer
Ray M. Bowen
John A. Brock
Elizabeth L. Bruni
Gregory M. Cook. Co-Chairman
William C. Culp, M.D.
Allan Campbell, M.D.
Bill Klein, M.D.
Donald A. Frey, Vice President
Cemal M. Pulak. Vice President
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
John De Lapa
Donald C. Geddes ID (Emeritus)
Woodrow Jones, Jr.
Harry C. Kahn II (Emeritus)
Michael L. Katzev
Sally R. Lancaster
Robert E. Lorton
Dana F. McGinnis
James A. Goold, Secretary and General Counsel
Claudia LeDoux, Assistant Secretary
and Assistant Treasurer
Frederick R. Mayer
William A. McKenzie
Alex C. Nason
George E. Robb, Jr.
L. Francis Rooney
T. Hastings Siegfned
William T. Sturgis
Robert L. Walker
Lew O. Ward
Peter M. Way
Carry A. Weber
George O. Yamini
Murad Sunalp, M.D.
George E Bass
George T & Gladys H. Abell Professor of Nautical Archaeology/ George O. Yamini Family Professor of Liberal Arts
Kevin J. Crisman, Nautical Archaeology Faculty Fellow
Donny L. Hamilton, Frederick R Mayer Faculty Fellow
Cemal M. Pulak, Frederick R. Mayer Faculty Fellow of Nautical Archaeology
C. Wayne Smith, Assistant Professor/Duector of the Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory
J. Richard Steffy, Sara W. & George O. Yamini Professor of Nautical Archaeology, Emeritus
Frederick H. van Doorninck, Jr., Frederick R Mayer Professor of Nautical Archaeology, Emeritus
Shelley Wachsmann, Meadows Associate Professor of Biblical Archaeology
Cheryl Ward, Assistant Professor
J. Barto Arnold, M.A., Texas Operations
William H. Charlton, Jr, M.A.
Sheila D. Matthews, M.A.
Robin C. M- Piercy
Sema Pulak, M.A.
Patricia M. Sibella, Ph.D.
Douglas Haldane, M.A., INA Egypt
Margaret E. Leshikar-Denton, Ph.D.
Robert S. Neyland, Ph.D.
Ralph K. Pedersen, M.A.
Brett A. Phaneuf
Arthur Cohn, J.D.
David Gibbins, Ph.D.
Faith D. Hentschel, Ph.D.
Fredrik T. Hiebert, Ph.D.
Carolyn G. Koehler, Ph.D.
William M. Murray, Ph.D.
David I. Owen, Ph.D.
Gordon P. Watts, Ir., Ph.D.
Christine A. Powell
Tufan U. Turanrh, Turkish Headquarters
Australian Institute of Maritime Archaeology
Bryn Mawr College
University of California, Berkeley
University of Cincinnati
Coming Museum of Glass
Department de Arqueol6gia Subacuatica de
la I.N.A.H., Mexico
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
New York University, Institute of Fine Arts
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Partners for Livable Places
University Museum, University of Pennsylvania
Texas A&M Research Foundation
Texas A&M University
University of Texas at Austin
Mr. and Mrs. Ray H. Siegfried I
Graduate Fellow: Dan Davis
Marion M. Cook Graduate Fellow: