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  1. #61
    pt
    Oct 2009
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    No, for the reasons already stated above.

    Quote Originally Posted by TRG View Post

    Ships that were constructed in Spain but repaired in the Americas might have had copper or bronze fasteners perhaps?
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  2. #62
    TRG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandre View Post
    No, for the reasons already stated above.
    OK Alex, I believe these are your "reasons stated above":

    1) As far as I know, there are NO copper alloyed fasteners ever been archaeologically comproved on modern sites dating to prior the 1770s.

    2) There are no copper alloyed fasteners listed on construction bills for Spanish ships prior to early 1800s, only "clavos de hierro" - and believe me, I have read hundreds.

    3) The Spanish had lots of iron ore in the Basque country. Iron was cheap and readily available for them.

    4) Bronze, however, was really expensive, as they hardly had tin and they were always scrapping for it for artillery.

    5) So, economically and logistically, it did not make sense to have copper alloyed ship fasteners instead of iron ones.

    Reason 1 - "as far as I know"

    Many thousands of ships were constructed between 1500 and 1770 and your sample is rather small.

    Reason 2 - "... no copper alloyed fasteners listed on construction bills..." [that you have examined]

    See above and, as I posted previously, in the new world copper was more plentiful than iron - iron nails and fittings had to be imported from Spain - and copper and bronze were used to produce all manner of useful items. Let me re-post the quote:


    "The history of commercial mining in Mexico dates back to the Colonial Period. Because of its use in
    many critical sectors of the economy, copper was a significant resource in New Spain. In a society where
    iron goods were scarce, copper (unalloyed or mixed with tin or zinc to produce bronze or brass) was
    indispensable. It was the most widely employed utilitarian metal in Spanish Colonial times. Its importance
    is manifest in the many ways it was used, from coinage and armaments to innumerable articles of industrial,
    domestic, and artistic use. In its nonmetallic form, it was used to process silver ore. In the eyes of the crown,
    the use of copper for making silver and gold coins and armaments commanded the highest priority followed
    by its use for making utensils and equipment needed in the manufacture of sugar (Barrett, 1987)."

    Reasons 3, 4, and 5 - see above. You are generalizing and making assumptions and assertions that are not necessarily generalize-able.

    Iron nails are ancient, no doubt:

    The history of nail making

    and used in shipbuilding as the construction bills attest:

    https://www.qaronline.org/conservati...ils-and-spikes

    but the use of iron structural elements was hampered by the poor quality of wrought iron prior to the 18th century. Uses of iron in direct contact with seawater seem to be mainly for anchors and rudder fittings before then. The latter was one of the main problems with lead sheathing as it caused the rudder fittings to deteriorate. Lead sheathing was afixed with copper nails. Wood sheathing with treenails - and perhaps bronze or copper spikes, especially I would think for repairs. There would be many uses for iron nails and bolts in the interior of the ship and for various fittings where no direct or prolonged contact with seawater would be expected, and by volume this would be the great majority of such items used for construction.

    Shipbuilding, 1590-1790 by Y. Eyup Ozveren [Source: Review (Fernand Braudel Center) , 2000, Vol. 23, No. 1, Commodity Chains in
    the World-Economy, 1590—1790 (2000), pp. 15-86] has a shipbuilding commodities chain chart on page 16 listing copper and bronze for various uses, along with iron. It mentions that Havana was a major center of Spanish shipbuilding during the 17th century as well as a port on the west coast of Nicaragua. We know that repairs were commonly performed at Vera Cruz.

    This link talks about a 17th century ship's galley lined with copper as fire proofing:

    https://maritimeasia.ws/maritimelank...er/galley.html

    This article talks about ship construction in some detail and may be of interest to some:

    THE STRUCTURES OF ENGLISH WOODEN SHIPS:
    WILLIAM SUTHERLAND'S SHIP, CIRCA 1710
    Trevor Kenchington, The Northern Mariner/Le Marin du nord, III, No. 1 (January 1993),l-43.

    [I have this and the one cited above as pdf's if someone cannot access the Springer online version]


    The long and the short here is that statements that no bronze or copper fasteners were used prior to 1770, except in pre-Roman times seems... fantastical, actually. More likely they were used where appropriate by choice and perhaps where a fastener was needed in a pinch if that was what was available and that the bulk of the fasteners on any given ship of the period were iron - for the reasons you suggest and throughout the interior of the ship because corrosion resistance is less of a factor.

  3. #63
    pt
    Oct 2009
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    You are right in that the absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence.


    But, for me, the idea that, somehow, the only evidence of copper alloyed fasteners being used prior to the 1780s in Spanish ships is found in several ships excavated from a non controlled environment from a precise point of the world, against all the other evidence found in archives and controlled archaeological excavations (yes, I asked arround, to all the specialists in Iberian shipbuilding out there) does not make sense.

    So, these copper alloyed spikes appearing in Florida are either non ship fasteners or are contamination from a later shipwreck that happened there.


    Quote Originally Posted by TRG View Post
    OK Alex, I believe these are your "reasons stated above":



    Reasons 3, 4, and 5 - see above. You are generalizing and making assumptions and assertions that are not necessarily generalize-able.




    The long and the short here is that statements that no bronze or copper fasteners were used prior to 1770, except in pre-Roman times seems... fantastical, actually. More likely they were used where appropriate by choice and perhaps where a fastener was needed in a pinch if that was what was available and that the bulk of the fasteners on any given ship of the period were iron - for the reasons you suggest and throughout the interior of the ship because corrosion resistance is less of a factor.
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  4. #64
    TRG
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    The ships in question were returning from from New World ports to Spain, very likely all were repaired there and some may have been built there. How many New World wrecks have been excavated in a way that would meet your test of "a controlled environment"?

    I find it a little hard to believe that there were some 'bronze spike police' that operated world wide up until 1770 that were ready to string up offenders from the nearest yard arm for violating this 'rule'. People make use of the materials at hand in a way that fits their needs as a general rule.

    This said, very few wrecks have been systematically excavated, and fasteners are low on the list of 'interesting items' that are most commonly recovered. The book mentioned above, "The Structures of English Wooden Ships:...", mentions that shipwrights wrote little down about their work and tradecraft, teaching others as apprentices and not generally sharing their traditions, so getting a clear understanding of ship construction and materials [especially prior to 1770] is not an easy task long after the fact. As for the original question - "dating spikes" - it seems to me that likely they can only be dated reliably by context, as the styles, materials, and techniques of manufacture are fairly generic and relatively ancient.
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  5. #65
    TRG
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandre View Post
    You are right in that the absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence.


    But, for me, the idea that, somehow, the only evidence of copper alloyed fasteners being used prior to the 1780s in Spanish ships is found in several ships excavated from a non controlled environment from a precise point of the world, against all the other evidence found in archives and controlled archaeological excavations (yes, I asked arround, to all the specialists in Iberian shipbuilding out there) does not make sense.

    So, these copper alloyed spikes appearing in Florida are either non ship fasteners or are contamination from a later shipwreck that happened there.
    So I guess that spike with the 1733 coin was either a coincidence of two separate ships ... although this has never been mentioned or substantiated... debri's combined in the same spot... which I guess it is possible... BUT... there would be OBVIOUS signs of a mixture of two ships debris from 2 time periods resting in the same places. (this is not the movie "The Deep" BTW :P )

    OR... the result of someone with a coin... spike and superglue... deciding to "create" something cool in hopes of a higher sale ? ? ?

    Just remember this old saying...

    "There is a first time for everything".

    and I am pretty sure the author of that little saying really meant "everything". heh
    Blak bart likes this.
    DETECT WITH RESPECT - Have permission... Fill holes... Dispose of trash. - The Random Chat Thread - http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/ev...en-24-7-a.html

  7. #67
    pt
    Oct 2009
    Lisbon
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    I once found a chinese ming ceramic shard attached to a can of coca-cola... debris do mix.

    And, yes, it could have been salted, it is a possibility, too


    Quote Originally Posted by AARC View Post
    So I guess that spike with the 1733 coin was either a coincidence of two separate ships ... although this has never been mentioned or substantiated... debri's combined in the same spot...


    OR... the result of someone with a coin... spike and superglue... deciding to "create" something cool in hopes of a higher sale ? ? ?

    Just remember this old saying...

    "There is a first time for everything".

    and I am pretty sure the author of that little saying really meant "everything". heh

 

 
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