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Batavia shipwreck timbers reveal a key to Dutch success in 17th-century world trade

Authors: Aoife Daly; Marta Domínguez-Delmás; Wendy van Duivenvoorde;

Batavia shipwreck timbers reveal a key to Dutch success in 17th-century world trade

Abstract

Ocean-going ships were key to rising maritime economies of the Early Modern period, and understanding how they were built is critical to grasp the challenges faced by shipwrights and merchant seafarers. Shipwreck timbers hold material evidence of the dynamic interplay of wood supplies, craftmanship, and evolving ship designs that helped shape the Early Modern world. Here we present the results of dendroarchaeological research carried out on Batavia���s wreck timbers, currently on display at the Western Australian Shipwrecks Museum in Fremantle. Built in Amsterdam in 1628 CE and wrecked on its maiden voyage in June 1629 CE in Western Australian waters, Batavia epitomises Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or VOC) shipbuilding. In the 17th century, the VOC grew to become the first multinational trading enterprise, prompting the rise of the stock market and modern capitalism. Oak (Quercus sp.) was the preferred material for shipbuilding in northern and western Europe, and maritime nations struggled to ensure sufficient supplies to meet their needs and sustain their ever-growing mercantile fleets and networks. Our research illustrates the compatibility of dendrochronological studies with musealisation of shipwreck assemblages, and the results demonstrate that the VOC successfully coped with timber shortages in the early 17th century through diversification of timber sources (mainly Baltic region, L��beck hinterland in northern Germany, and Lower Saxony in northwest Germany), allocation of sourcing regions to specific timber products (hull planks from the Baltic and L��beck, framing elements from Lower Saxony), and skillful woodworking craftmanship (sapwood was removed from all timber elements). These strategies, combined with an innovative hull design and the use of wind-powered sawmills, allowed the Dutch to produce unprecedented numbers of ocean-going ships for long-distance voyaging and interregional trade in Asia, proving key to their success in 17th-century world trade.

Funding: WvD LP130100137 Australian Research Council https://www.arc.gov.au/ No MD-D 607545 FP7 People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/ 016.Veni.195.502 Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek https://www.nwo.nl/en AD 677152 European Research Council https://erc.europa.eu/

Country
Netherlands
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: History Framing (construction) Capitalism Shipbuilding Economy Multinational corporation Diversification (marketing strategy) business.industry Woodworking Early modern period Stock market business

Keywords

Social Sciences, Timber, Transportation, Geographical locations, Trees, Quercus, Plant Products, Germany, Batavia, Netherlands, Multidisciplinary, Ecology, Q, R, Commerce, Eukaryota, Agriculture, Plants, Wood, Europe, Archaeology, Medicine, Engineering and Technology, Research Article, Marine Engineering, 17th century, Dendrochronology, Shipbuilding, Science, History, 17th Century, Oaks, European Union, Ships, dendroarchaeology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Organisms, Biology and Life Sciences, Paleontology, Dutch East India Company, Agronomy, Archaeological Dating, Earth Sciences, Paleoecology, Paleobiology, People and places, Crop Science

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  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    9
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
9
Top 10%
Average
Top 10%
Green
gold
Funded by
ARC| Linkage Projects - Grant ID: LP130100137
Project
  • Funder: Australian Research Council (ARC) (ARC)
  • Project Code: LP130100137
  • Funding stream: Linkage Projects
,
EC| FORSEADISCOVERY
Project
FORSEADISCOVERY
Forest resources for Iberian Empires: Ecology and Globalization in the Age of Discovery
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 607545
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP3 | PEOPLE
iis
,
NWO| Wood for goods: unravelling the production of historical wooden art objects in the Low Countries through a multidisciplinary approach
Project
  • Funder: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (NWO)
  • Project Code: 016.Veni.195.502
  • Funding stream: NWO-Talentprogramma Veni SGW 2018
sysimport:actionset
,
EC| TIMBER
Project
TIMBER
Northern Europe's timber resource - chronology, origin and exploitation
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 677152
  • Funding stream: H2020 | ERC | ERC-STG
Validated by funder | iis
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