Recording the Rudder of HMS St. George

22 04 2009

In week 12 (16th – 10th March) the students of the Maritime Archaeology program partook on a survey week to learn more about different methods of recording. What was being recorded was the rudder that most probably belonged to the English ship of the line HMS St.George that went down on the west coast of Jutland in December 1811. When wrecked she was using an emergency rudder, because the original rudder, which we recorded, had been lost earlier. The rudder is now located at the Strandingsmuseum St.George in Thorsminde on the northwestern part of Jutland where many of the recovered artifacts from HMS St.George are on display.

Rudder port side

Rudder port side

We used various recording tools such as photo documentation, sketching, and written descriptions of what we perceived. We also measured the rudder using a total station, where we measured angles and distances from the total station to the points that we survey. A total station is an electronic theodolite integrated with an electronic distance meter, which is also capable of storing data.

Students recording

Students recording

To complete the numerous tasks we were divided in groups and subsequently changed around tasks to ensure that all had the opportunity to try out the various methods. It was important to get all of the recording completed precisely while we were at the site, so that it would be possible to do the post processing at a later time.

Using the total station

Using the total station

The most time consuming part of the recording was the total station work, there were many many points which needed to be measured in; the outline of the whole rudder, the nails and nail holes, the different sheeting and different marks in the wood. The points we got from the total station we later processed using the software Rhinoceros 3D. The processed results will offer us the opportunity to create a 3D model of the rudder.

With the results of our recording the class will ultimately produce an article, which is intended for publication in The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. We have now divided into different groups that will look closer at the description of this rudder, the methods that we have used to record it, and also look at shipbuilding, contemporary shipbuilding dictionaries and other rudders from the same period.

Liv Gardsjord Lofthus




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