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The Wooden Anchor

David Haldane
Thesis: May 1984
Chair: van Doorninck
Nautical Archaeology Program

The wooden anchor, apparently developed toward the end of the seventh century B.C., employed several non-wooden parts during its history: a stone or lead stock, bronze or iron fluke points and a lead collar at the arm/shank junction. When the anchor was lost on the seabed, its wood disintegrated, leaving only the non-wooden parts to mark its passing. Discovery of wooden anchor elements and, only infrequently, wooden anchors themselves, along with ancient literary works and depictions, has yielded an abundance of information and insights on this integral part of ancient seafaring. However, an overall view of ancient anchor development remains obscure, as this information has not been adequately analyzed and synthesized.

Presently, a particularly valuable contribution to the study of ancient anchors is not the generation of new information, but an analysis and synthesis of existing information. By eliminating elements of redundancy and confusion I have provided an organized framework for further investigation.

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