Monday, January 08, 2018

The Bounded Main

What did pirates read?
Conservators from the NCDNCR’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Lab worked with specialist paper conservators and scientists from the department’s Division of Archives and Records, as well as the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, to conserve the fragile paper fragments. “As the work progressed another discovery was made — that there was still legible printed text on some of the fragments, although only a few words were visible,” explained NCDNCR, in its statement. “The challenge then became not just to conserve the paper fragments, but also to identify where they were from.”

Months of research revealed that the fragments were from a 1712 first edition of the book “A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World, Perform’d in the Years 1708, 1709, 1710 and 1711,” by Captain Edward Cooke.

The book is a “voyage narrative,” a genre popular in late 17th and early 18th century literature. Cooke’s work describes his adventures on an expedition made by two ships, Duke and Dutchess, which sailed from Bristol, England, in 1708. The expedition’s leader, Captain Woodes Rogers, also published an account of the journey.

Both Cooke and Rogers describe the rescue of Alexander Selkirk from an island where he had been marooned for four years, which inspired Daniel Defoe’s famous 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe.”

“Although books like these voyage narratives would have been relatively common on ships of the early 18th century, archaeological evidence for them is exceedingly rare, and this find represents a glimpse into the reading habits of a pirate crew,” explained NCDNCR in its statement. “The historical record has several references to books aboard vessels in Blackbeard’s fleet, but provides no specific titles; this find is the first archaeological evidence for their presence on QAR [Queen Anne's Revenge].”
There be books here...

No comments:

Post a Comment

No Hackers Near Her

Joy Reid's story continues to fall apart: Cybersecurity expert Jason McNew, who spent 12 years working for the White House and Camp Davi...