The ShipLab was created by J. Richard Steffy in 1976 and today is one of the laboratories of the Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation of the Anthropology Department at Texas A&M University. Our mission is to acquire and disseminate knowledge about shipbuilding through time. As a classroom our main objective is to provide an effective learning environment.
As a research laboratory our objective is to facilitate investigation, seek public and private research funds, and recruit and retain quality students for our projects. As an outreach institution we aim at providing in-formation, education, and guidance on the discipline of nautical archaeology and the importance of the world's submerged cultural heritage, perhaps more than ever threatened by treasure hunting.
Filipe Vieira de Castro is Professor of Anthropology, holds the Frederick R. Mayer II Fellowship of Nautical Archaeology, and is the Director of the Ship Reconstruction Laboratory at Texas A&M University. He has a degree in civil engineering from Lisbon's Instituto Superior Técnico, a Master of Business Administration from the Catholic University of Lisbon, and a PhD in Anthropology from Texas A&M University. He has conducted field work in Portugal, Panama, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Italy, and Croatia, and his main interests are the history of wooden shipbuilding technology and European seafaring in the late medieval and early modern periods.
Computers and the dissemination of knowledge
Archaeologists publish a small percentage (around 25%) of the sites they dig and thus destroy forever. At the ShipLAB we believe that the development of computer science, computer graphics, and the internet, have created an environment which can help promote a paradigm change, allowing archaeologists to survey and record faster and cheaper, and to share their primary data in real time.
Ship Modeling and Computer Graphics
A cooperation between the Department of Visualization, Texas A&M University, and Centre for Marine Technology and Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal.
Protection of the World's Submerged Cultural Heritage
A substantial portion of the world's submerged cultural heritage was destroyed in the last 50 years by treasure hunters. This problem has been a major interest and research subject in the ShipLAB.
The maritime expansion of the late 15th and early 16th centuries had a major impact on European history, although the ships that made it possible are largely unknown to us. The ShipLAB has devoted a considerable time and effort to the study of the people that conceived, built and sailed the ships that first mapped the world, in the end of the Middle Age.
MARECULTURE. Participant (through Universidade Nova de Lisboa). H2020 European Commission Research and Innovation Grant entitled Advanced VR, iMmersive serious games and Augmented REality as tools to raise awareness and access to European underwater CULTURal heritage. PI: Dr. Dimitrios Skarlatos (2,644,025 €). 2016-2020. http://imareculture.weebly.com/
ForSEAdiscovery. Associated partner. Marie Curie Multi-ITN project entitled Forest resources and Ships for Iberian Empires: ecology and globalization in the Age of Discovery. PI: Dr. Ana Crespo Solana and Dr. Nigel Nayling (3,904,166 €). 2013-2017.
GROPLAN. Partner. Agence Nationale de Recherches – Programme Contenus Numèriques et Interactions : Généralisation du Relevé, avec Ontologies et Photogrammétrie, pour l'Archéologie Navale et Sous-marine. PI : Dr. Pierre Drap, LSIS/CNRS, France, (720,942.88 €). 2013-2018.
Excavation and Reconstruction of the Belinho 1 Shipwreck
Excavation of a shipwreck at Belinho beach, Esposende, Portugal.
Iberian Shipbuilding Glossary
Development of a shipbuilding glossary in six languages to be shared online .2014-Present.
Ship Iconography Database
Compilation of quality images of ships from the medieval and early modern periods to be shared online. 2007-Present.
Marine Astrolabes Database
A study and inventory of all nautical astrolabes known to exist. 2005-Present. https://www.academia.edu/30682905/Marine_Astrolabes_Catalogue_2016
Iberian Shipwreck Scantlings
A study and inventory of the shape and size of the timber components of early modern Iberian
A study and inventory of Archaic, Classic, Medieval, and Modern shipwrecks to be shared
The ShipLAB work would not be possible without the sponsor-ship of many persons and institutions.
Texas A&M Alumni Dr. Peter and Nancy Amaral have supported the research of countless students for over a decade now, making most of their research possible and setting the base for their professional futures.
Mr. Charles Consolvo has also supported our projects through the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, making the Playa Damas and Puerto Rico projects possible, among many other projects.
The Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation at Texas A&M University.
The Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
The Luso-American Foundation, for their support of the Lagos project and many other initiatives.
The Spain-USA Foundation and Dr. James Goold, for their support of the Playa Damas project.
The Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency and Mr. Martijn Manders, for their support of the Utrecht project.
The ProMARE Foundation, Brett and Ayse Phaneuf for their support of the Stella 1 project.
The Soprintendenza per I beni culturali del Friuli Venezia Giulia, and its Soprintendente,
Dr. Luigi Fozzati, for his support of the Stella 1 project.
The De Candido family, for their support of the Stella 1 project.
The Croatian Ministry of Culture, for its support of the Gnalić project.
The University of Zadar, for their support of the Gnalić project.
The Municipality of Biograd, Croatia, for their support of the Gnalić project.
The Portuguese Ministry of Culture, who supported the Pepper Wreck project.
The Portimão Marina, for their support of the Arade 1 project.
Andre Thomas and the Thomas Family Trust, for his support of the VizLAB and the Nautical
J.-B. Pelletier, Senior Nautical Archaeologist and Remote Sensing Specialist at URS
Corporation, who has been teaching our students remote sensing for years now.
Pat Sanders, founder and president of Hypack Inc., Lourdes Evans, and Christian Shaw, for
sponsoring our remote sensing courses.
The Municipality of Lagos and Dr. Rui Loureiro, Portugal, for their support of the Lagos project.
The Municipality of Vila do Conde.
The Municipality of Esposende.
The Municipality of Alcácer do Sal.