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Smoke on the water: an historical archaeological assessment of maritime sources of productivity change in the early English tobacco trade

Smoke on the water: an historical archaeological assessment of maritime sources of productivity change in the early English tobacco trade
Smoke on the water: an historical archaeological assessment of maritime sources of productivity change in the early English tobacco trade
This thesis explores the interaction of numerous factors affecting economic productivity in England’s 17th-century tobacco trade with its Chesapeake colonies, particularly with an eye to transatlantic shipping. This is achieved here through the use of a network inspired analytical framework to provide an assessment of a range of elements surrounding the trade over the course of the 17th century, how these elements interacted, and the degree to which they affected the overall productivity tobacco market. Data used to these means include the extant body of relevant literature, historical documentation, archaeological data, and a case study of an archaeological site near St. Mary’s City, Maryland, USA investigated for the purpose of this thesis.
The tobacco economy is examined and analysed based on various inputs, along with various social and political factors. Settlement patterning is studied through geo-spatial archaeological data from Maryland to identify possible causes for the shift in the tobacco collection model from a plantation-front based system to a central warehouse model. Through this, it is argued that the dominant driver for this change was a spread of plantations to more inland sites owing to population growth as the dominant cause. Shipbuilding is scrutinised to identify trends in ship technology and construction methods, showing changes to be both purpose and resource driven. Passenger journals and logbooks are used to examine changes in sailing route throughout the 17th century from England to the Chesapeake, resulting in the identification of a previously unknown route of ocean passage in common usage in the latter half of the 17th century. This change provided generally faster crossings on a less hazardous route, necessitated largely by political and social causes. Making use of these same voyage accounts as a data source, a quantitative study of English merchant ship performance in terms of velocity made good and windward sailing capabilities is provided. Results of this study indicate that advances in ocean crossing times were largely route dependent, with little if any advance in sailing speed over this period. Lastly, the examination of a submerged ballast cluster has provided insights into possible focusses of maritime archaeology in the Chesapeake region. To date, no vessels dating to the early colonial period have been located in the region despite heavy maritime traffic in this era. Ballast discard sites dating to this period are a common yet virtually unexamined site type for this area, and should be afforded additional attention.
In sum, this thesis provides a detailed overview of the function of the English-Chesapeake tobacco trade, resulting in a series of network-based models of interaction examining foreign and domestic politics, crew size and mariner wages, tobacco production, the tobacco market, product collection models, sailing routes, hull and sail efficiency, ship construction, time spent at sea, and time spent in port. These are assessed on a temporal scale, allowing for summary of the function of the tobacco economy at various points throughout the 17th century and into the 18th century.
University of Southampton
Tucker, Scott, Alan
798e5922-7e4e-48a1-a879-cb319cc21380
Tucker, Scott, Alan
798e5922-7e4e-48a1-a879-cb319cc21380
Adams, Jonathan
184a058c-d4b1-44fc-9bff-cadee3882bc8
Oldfield, John
c5b43d66-5f3d-4b91-b5c2-08959b412e40

Tucker, Scott, Alan (2017) Smoke on the water: an historical archaeological assessment of maritime sources of productivity change in the early English tobacco trade. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 305pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis explores the interaction of numerous factors affecting economic productivity in England’s 17th-century tobacco trade with its Chesapeake colonies, particularly with an eye to transatlantic shipping. This is achieved here through the use of a network inspired analytical framework to provide an assessment of a range of elements surrounding the trade over the course of the 17th century, how these elements interacted, and the degree to which they affected the overall productivity tobacco market. Data used to these means include the extant body of relevant literature, historical documentation, archaeological data, and a case study of an archaeological site near St. Mary’s City, Maryland, USA investigated for the purpose of this thesis.
The tobacco economy is examined and analysed based on various inputs, along with various social and political factors. Settlement patterning is studied through geo-spatial archaeological data from Maryland to identify possible causes for the shift in the tobacco collection model from a plantation-front based system to a central warehouse model. Through this, it is argued that the dominant driver for this change was a spread of plantations to more inland sites owing to population growth as the dominant cause. Shipbuilding is scrutinised to identify trends in ship technology and construction methods, showing changes to be both purpose and resource driven. Passenger journals and logbooks are used to examine changes in sailing route throughout the 17th century from England to the Chesapeake, resulting in the identification of a previously unknown route of ocean passage in common usage in the latter half of the 17th century. This change provided generally faster crossings on a less hazardous route, necessitated largely by political and social causes. Making use of these same voyage accounts as a data source, a quantitative study of English merchant ship performance in terms of velocity made good and windward sailing capabilities is provided. Results of this study indicate that advances in ocean crossing times were largely route dependent, with little if any advance in sailing speed over this period. Lastly, the examination of a submerged ballast cluster has provided insights into possible focusses of maritime archaeology in the Chesapeake region. To date, no vessels dating to the early colonial period have been located in the region despite heavy maritime traffic in this era. Ballast discard sites dating to this period are a common yet virtually unexamined site type for this area, and should be afforded additional attention.
In sum, this thesis provides a detailed overview of the function of the English-Chesapeake tobacco trade, resulting in a series of network-based models of interaction examining foreign and domestic politics, crew size and mariner wages, tobacco production, the tobacco market, product collection models, sailing routes, hull and sail efficiency, ship construction, time spent at sea, and time spent in port. These are assessed on a temporal scale, allowing for summary of the function of the tobacco economy at various points throughout the 17th century and into the 18th century.

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Smoke on the Water: An Historical Archaeological Assessment of Maritime Sources of Productivity Change in the Early English Tobacco Trade - Version of Record
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Published date: April 2017
Organisations: University of Southampton, Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 411893
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/411893
PURE UUID: 76803ccc-6d5c-445b-b7b1-a4ffbd352143

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Date deposited: 28 Jun 2017 16:31
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 19:47

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