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 J. Richard Steffy


The development of shipwreck analysis as a scientific discipline: during the 1960's I began developing a form of three-dimensional research, combining geometric models with standard graphic and archival forms of research to interpret partially preserved shipwrecks.  The process is being strengthened continuously with defined methodology; it has been published and many of its features have been adopted by others.

The development of shipbuilding technology: based on research and reconstruction of ships dating from the Bronze Age to the present century, and specializing in Mediterranean and North American sailing craft.  Present research centers on the origins of formal naval architecture, the study of ancient and early medieval ship construction and repair, and the development of databases and graphic systems to date, identify, and analyze shipwrecks of all periods.


Consultant, Yassi Ada Expeditions (reconstructions of 4th-and 7th-century shipwrecks    near Bodrum, Turkey) of the University of Pennsylvania and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, 1964-1981.

Consultant, Porticello shipwreck (study of a 5th-century BC wreck near Messina, Sicily), sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, 1971 and 1974.

Reconstructor, Kyrenia Ship Expedition (reconstruction of a 4th-century BC Greek    merchantman now on display in Crusader Castle, Kyrenia, Cyprus), jointly sponsored by the University Museum, Oberlin College, and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, 1971-1975.

Consultant, UNESCO (Sites and Monuments), 1972-73.

Consultant, Thomas Skofield shipwreck (study and partial retrieval of a large coal    schooner at Sea Isle City, New Jersey), 1972.  Removal and measurement sponsored by Bath Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine.

Project Advisor, The Defense Project (excavation of a Revolutionary War privateer brig   near Castine, Maine), jointly sponsored by INA, Maine Maritime Academy, and Maine State Museum, 1975-79.

Reconstructor, The Cornwallis Cave Wreck (excavation of a British vessel scuttled in the  York River, Virginia, in 1781), sponsored by INA and Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, 1976.

Reconstructor, The Brown's Ferry Project (excavation and restoration of an early American coasting vessel at Brown's Ferry, South Carolina), for the University of South Carolina, 1977-78.

Reconstructor, The Serçe Limani Medieval Ship Project (excavation and restoration of an 11th-century merchantman wrecked near Marmaris, Turkey), sponsored by INA, 1978-88.

Field School Director, The Charon Project (excavation of Cornwallis' flag vessel which    burned and sank at Gloucester Point, Virginia, in 1781), jointly sponsored by Texas    A&M University and Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission), 1980.

Consultant, the San Esteban wreck (restudy of a Spanish plate wreck sunk at Padre Island, Texas, in 1554), for the Texas Antiquities Committee, 1980-81.

Consultant, The Napoleonic Wreck (investigation of a late 18th-century blockade ship at   Akko, Israel), for the University of Haifa, 1981.

Reconstructor, the Athlit Ram Project (study of a classical warship ram and bow timbers), for the University of Haifa, 1981-1987.

Consultant, Ronson Ship Project (excavation and study of an 18th-century ship in lower    Manhattan), for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1982.

Project Advisor, Cofferdam Wreck (excavation of a Revolutionary War vessel at    Yorktown, Virginia), for Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, 1983-90.

Consultant and designer, Kyrenia Ship Replica Project (construction of a full-scale sailing  replica of a 4th-century BC merchant ship at Perama, Greece), sponsored by INA and the  Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition; launched June, 1985.

Reconstructor, The Herculaneum Boat Excavation (study and excavation of a 1st-century  Roman boat at Ercolano, Italy), for Scavi di Ercolano and National Geographic Society,   1983-1986.

Advisor, Caesarea Maritima Exhibition, Smithsonian Institution, 1986-87.

Advisor, Carnegie Museum Egyptian Boat Project (study and reconstruction of a twelfth-dynasty Egyptian funerary boat), sponsored by Carnegie Museum of  Natural History, Pittsburgh, 1985-1990.

Reconstructor, The Kinneret Boat Project (excavation of a nearly intact Roman boat on    the Sea of Galilee), for the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums, 1986.

Consultant or advisor to Parks Canada (Marchault and Basque Whaler projects), National Geographic Society, various museums, agencies, and individuals.



Construction Techniques of Ancient Ships, Naval Engineers Journal, 87.5: 85-91.


The Institute's Model Shop.  INA Newsletter 3.1: 1-4.


The Cornwallis Cave Shipwreck, Yorktown, Virginia.  The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 7.3: 205-226, with P. F. Johnston and J. O. Sands.

Construction Details of the Brown's Ferry Ship.  Beneath the Waters of Time, Texas Antiquities Pub. No. 6: 55-61.

Maximum Results from Minimum Remains.  Beneath the Waters of Time, Texas Antiquities Pub. No. 6: 53-54.


The Greek Ship.  Changing Interpretations and New Sources in Naval History, R. Love, ed.  New York, Garland Press.

Hull Construction Features of the Brown's Ferry Vessel.  Notebook (official research report), University of South Carolina, 10: 1-29.

The Brown's Ferry Vessel, South Carolina.  The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 8.2: 121-142.

The Brown's Ferry Model.  INA Newsletter 6.1: 4-5

Ship Research.  INA Newsletter 6.3: 5-6.


The Medieval Cargo Ship: Evidence from Nautical Archaeology.  New Aspects of Naval History, C. L. Symonds, ed. Annapolis, Naval Institute Press.

A Fifth-Rate Shipwreck Named Charon.  INA Newsletter 7.4: 1-5.


The Serçe Liman Medieval Ship.  Underwater Archaeology: The Challenge Before Us, G. Watts ed..  San Marino, Fathom Eight Publications, 106-113.

The Charon Report (Steffy et al.).  Underwater Archaeology: The Challenge Before Us, G. Watts, ed.  San Marino, Fathom Eight Publications, 114-143.


New Research Mediums for Hull Reconstruction.  Underwater Archaeology: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Conference on Underwater Archaeology, D. Keith, ed. San Marino, Fathom Eight Publications.

The Reconstruction of the 11th-century Serçe Liman Vessel. The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 11.1: 13-34.

The Anchors, with F. H. van Doorninck, and Reconstructing the Hull, chapters in G. F. Bass and F. H. van Doorninck, Yassi Ada Volume I: A Seventh-Century Byzantine Shipwreck (INA Monograph Series No.l), College Station.


Nautical Archaeology and the History of Seafaring.  American Historical Association Proceedings, 1982. University Microfilms.

The Athlit Ram: A Preliminary Investigation of its Structure, Mariner's Mirror, 69.3: 229-246.

The Institute's Model Shop Revisited.  INA Newsletter 10.3: 1-5.

Ancient Hull Research.  INA Newsletter 10.4:2.


Excavation of an 11th-century Shipwreck at Serçe Liman, Turkey. National Geographic Society Research Reports, Washington, 17: 161-182; with G. F. Bass and F. H. van Doorninck, Jr.

Structural Philosophy and Technology: Clues from Shipwrecks.  The Greek Trireme of the 5th Century B.C., S. McGrail and J. Coates, eds. London.


The Kyrenia Ship: An Interim Report on its Hull Construction.  American Journal of Archaeology, 89.1: 71-101.

The Herculaneum Boat: Preliminary Notes on Hull Details.  American Journal of Archaeology, 89.3: 519-21.


Ship Reconstruction Spans the Globe and 21 Centuries.  INA Newsletter 12.4: 5-6.


Notes on the Construction of the Kinneret Boat. The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 16.4: 325-329.

The Reconstruction of the Eleventh-Century Serçe Liman Vessel.  Ships, Seafaring, and Society, T. Runyan, ed. Detroit.


The Thirteen Colonies: English Settlers and Seafarers.  Ships and Shipwrecks of the Americas, G. Bass, ed.  London.

Reconstructing an 11th-Century Ship.  INA Newsletter 15.1: 12.

Reconstructing the Hull.  INA Newsletter 15.3: 14-21.


The Role of Three-dimensional Research in the Kyrenia Ship Reconstruction.  Tropis I (Proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity), H. Tzalas, ed. Athens, 249-262.


The Boat: A Preliminary Study of its Construction; The Migdal Boat Mosaic (with S. Wachsmann); and Glossary of Shipbuilding Terms.  The Excavations of an Ancient Boat in the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), S. Wachsmann, ed.  Atiqot XIX (English Series), Jerusalem.

Problems and Progress in Dating Ancient Vessels by their Construction Features.  Tropis II (Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity), H. Tzalas, ed. Athens, 315-320.


The Mediterranean Shell to Skeleton Transition: A Northwest European Parallel??  Carvel Construction Technique, R. Reinders and K. Paul, eds. Oxford, 1-9.


Ancient Scantlings: The Projection and Control of Ancient Hull Shapes.  Tropis III (Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity), H. Tzalas, ed. Athens, 417-428.

Shipwreck Archaeology; An Essential Medium for Interpreting Ancient Ship Construction.  Cyprus and the Sea, V. Karageorghis and D. Michaelides, eds. Nicosia, 1995, 23-31.


`Atlit Ram.  The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East.  E. M. Myers, ed. (New York & Oxford): 234-236.

Reconstruction and Sparrow Hawk, entries in J. P. Delgado (ed.), British Museum Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology, London, 334-36 and 402.


Seldom Discussed Features of Ancient and Medieval Ship Construction.  Archaeonautica vol. 14, P. Pomey and E. Reith, eds.  Aix-en-Provence, 165-69.

Ship Models as Tools for Reconstructing Shipwrecks, Proceedings of the Western Ship Modelers Conference, 1998. Long Beach, 1998.


Ancient Ship Repair.  Tropis V (Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity), H. Tzalas, ed. Athens, 395-408.


Influences on Shipbuilding Technology.  Down The River To The Sea (Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology, Gdansk 1997), J. Litwin, ed. (Gdansk): 263-67.


A Cargo of Knowledge.  INA Quarterly 28.1: 10-12.

The development of Ancient and Medieval Shipbuilding Techniques.  Proceedings; International Symposium on Archaeology of Medieval and Modern Ships of Iberian-Atlantic Tradition, Francisco Alves, ed.  Lisbon, 49-61.



The Ram and Bow Timbers: A Structural Interpretation, in L. Casson and J. R. Steffy. eds.  The Athlit Ram (INA Monograph Series No. 3), Texas A&M University Press,College Station.


Wooden Ship Building and the Interpretation of Shipwrecks.  Texas A&M University Press, College Station.  (Second printing, Chatham Books, London, 2000).


A Mediterranean ship construction database; dating and classifying shipwrecks by their hull remains; accepted for publication in Tropis VI, Athens (no release date).

A Comparative Analysis of Cypriote Clay Models; in Vassos Karageorghis, The Coroplastic Art of Ancient Cyprus, Vol. VII. (1996); no further information.

Serçe Limani, Volume I, the first of a three-volume series on the Glass Wreck excavation; co-authored with G. F. Bass, F. H. VanDoorninck, and S. Matthews.  Texas A&M University Press, in press.



Reconstructing ancient ships; American Society of Naval Engineers, Washington, D.C.


Assembling treated hull fragments; Association for Historic Preservation, Williamsburg, Va.


Reconstructing the Kyrenia ship; International Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Ottawa, Canada.

Ancient Greek ship construction: Naval History Symposium, Annapolis, Md.


The Brown's Ferry vessel interpretation, and Maximum results from minimum remains; Conference on Underwater Archaeology, San Antonio, Texas.

Techniques in ship reconstruction and interpretation; Council for Maritime Archaeology, London, England.


The medieval cargo ship: evidence from nautical archaeology; Naval History Symposium, Annapolis.


The Serçe Liman medieval ship, The Charon report, and Reconstruction methodology; Conference on Underwater Archaeology, New Orleans.

Important new information from the analysis of three shipwrecks; North American Society for Oceanic History, Cleveland, Ohio.

Construction details and new warship revelations from the Athlit Ram; International Symposium on the Athlit Ram, Haifa, Israel.


New research mediums for the Serçe Liman hull reconstruction, Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Philadelphia, Pa.

Council of Europe (Field Session on Underwater Archaeology): 7-lecture series; Bodrum, Turkey.

Nautical archaeology and the history of seafaring; American Historical Association, Washington, D.C.


Ancient structural details applicable to trireme construction, and The dangers of  replication; International Trireme Conference, National Maritime Museum, London.


Reconstructing ships: the state of the art; Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Boston.

Three-dimensional research techniques in the reconstruction and replication of the Kyrenia ship; First International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity, Athens, Greece.


Construction and experimental sailing of Kyrenia II; North American Society for Oceanic History, Galveston.


Trade and technology: new clues from medieval shipwrecks; Delaware Valley Medieval Conference, Philadelphia.

Problems and progress in dating ancient ships by their construction features; Second Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity, Delphi, Greece.


The Mediterranean shell to skeleton transition: a northwest European parallel?; Fifth  International Symposium on Ship and Boat Archaeology, Amsterdam.

The economics of ancient shipbuilding; First Archaeological Congress, Baltimore.


Publishing shipwrecks for interdisciplinary studies; First Archaeological Congress, Baltimore.

Research models as a medium for shipwreck analysis; Southern Conference on Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology, Tampa.

Ancient scantlings: the projection and control of Mediterranean hull shapes; Third International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity, Athens.


Ancient ship repairs; Fifth International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity, Nauplia, Greece.

Shipwreck archaeology--an essential medium for interpreting ancient ship construction; Cyprus and the Sea symposium, Nicosia, Cyprus.


Seldom discussed features of ancient ship construction; Seventh International Symposium on Ship and Boat Archaeology, Tatihou, Normandy, France.


A Mediterranean ship construction database; dating and classifying shipwrecks by their hull remains; Sixth International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity, Athens.


Influences on shipbuilding technology, Eighth International Symposium on Ship and Boat Archaeology, Gdansk, Poland.

The role of maritime museums in the study of ancient and medieval Mediterranean shipbuilding technology, Society for the History of Technology, Pasadena, California.


Ship models as tools for reconstructing shipwrecks, Western Ship Modelers Association, Long Beach, California.

The development of ancient and medieval shipbuilding techniques, International Symposium on the Archaeology of Medieval and Modern Ships of Iberian-Atlantic Tradition, Academia de Marinha, Lisbon, Portugal.

INVITED LECTURES (selected listing)


Archaeological Institute of America, 7-city tour.


University of North Wales, Bangor, North Wales University of London, London, England.


Archaeological Institute of America, 6-city tour.


Archaeological Institute of America; 4 cities, 6 lectures.


University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.


Academy of Sciences, San Francisco.


Archaeological Institute of America; 3 cities.


Museum of Natural History, Denver.


McCann-Taggert Lecturer, Archaeological Institute of America, Toronto and Ottawa.


University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.


Hecht Museum, keynote address for opening of ship gallery, Haifa, Israel


Archaeological Institute of America

Council for Nautical Archaeology

Hellenic Society for the Preservation of Maritime Tradition (honorary lifetime member)

National Maritime Historical Society

Nautical Research Guild

North American Society for Oceanic History

Society for Nautical Research



Fellow, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Special award, Hellenic Society for the Preservation of Maritime Tradition; research and design award for the construction of the Kyrenia ship replica.


Sara W. and George O. Yamini Endowed Professorship in Nautical Archaeology


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Last Updated: 10/14/08