The Rigging and Gun Tackle Blocks of the Swedish Royal Warship Vasa
Howe, Nathaniel Frantz
Rigging blocks are absolutely essential to the operation of a large sailing vessel, yet little has been published on these vital pieces of hardware. This thesis examines and analyzes the rigging and gun tackle blocks found in association with the Swedish royal warship, Vasa, lost in Stockholm Harbor on its maiden voyage on 10 August 1628. It explores the typology, nomenclature, historical development, and the physical mechanics of block technology and its application aboard square-rigged ships from antiquity to the 17th century. Vasa's blocks are discussed in detail, focusing on form, distribution at the wreck site, and interpretations of certain identifiable groups of blocks and a suggested reconstruction of the use and placement of these blocks in the rig. The final section compares Vasa's rigging and gun tackle blocks to other archaeological examples from the period and draws conclusions regarding the patterns of block design, manufacturing methods, and national rigging practices. This archaeological information is then combined with the limited historical sources available to deduce the nature of the working environment of the navy yard blockmaker and the broader social organization behind the production and usage of this vital hardware both onboard Vasa and in the navy yard.
Howe, Nathaniel Frantz. (January 2011). The Rigging and Gun Tackle Blocks of the Swedish Royal Warship Vasa (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/3744.)
Howe, Nathaniel Frantz. The Rigging and Gun Tackle Blocks of the Swedish Royal Warship Vasa. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2011. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/3744. April 26, 2019.
Howe, Nathaniel Frantz, “The Rigging and Gun Tackle Blocks of the Swedish Royal Warship Vasa” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2011).
Howe, Nathaniel Frantz. The Rigging and Gun Tackle Blocks of the Swedish Royal Warship Vasa [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2011.
East Carolina University