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The technology and economics of water-borne transportation systems in Roman Britain Millar, Roderick J. O. 2002-09-25

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The Technology and Economics of Water-Borne Transportation Systems in Roman Britain by RODERICK .1. O. MILLAR B.Sc. (Eng), The University of London, 1950 Banff School of Advanced Management, 1966 B.A. The University of British Columbia, 1987 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1991 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA January 2002 copyright Roderick J. O. Millar, 2002 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) 11. The Technology and Economics of Water-Borne Transportation Systems in Roman Britain Abstract The thesis examines a number of questions concerning the design, construction, costs and use of Romano-British seagoing and inland waters shipping. In the first part the reasons for the methods of construction for seagoing and coastal vessels, such as the Blackfriars Ship 1, the St. Peter Port Ship and the Barland's Farm Boat, have been investigated. The constructional characteristics of the two ships are massive floors and frames, with the planking fastened only to the floors and frames with heavy clenched iron nails. There is no edge to edge fastening of the planks, with tenons inserted into mortises cut into the edges of the planks, as is normal in the Mediterranean tradition of ship construction in the Roman period. The Romano-British ships also differ from the Scandinavian tradition of clinker building with overlapping planks nailed to each other along their length. It has been concluded that a natural phenomenon, the large tidal range around the British Isles and the northern coasts of Gaul and Germany, had a dominant effect on the design of seagoing vessels. Deep water harbours, such as Portus, Caesarea Maritima and Alexandria in the Mediterranean, where ships could lie afloat at all times, were neither practicable nor economic with the technology available. At the British ports, such as Dover, London and Chichester, ships had to come in with the high tide, moor to simple wharves at the high tide level, and then settle on the ground as the tide dropped. At the numerous small havens, inlets and estuaries around the British coasts, ships would come in with the tide, settle on a natural or man-made 'hard' as the tide fell, and discharge cargo over the side to carts, pack animals or people. This mode of operation required sturdy ships that could take the ground without damage, and also withstand a certain amount of 'bumping' on the bottom in the transition period from fully afloat to fully aground. The second part of the thesis investigates the cost of building, maintaining and operating various types of vessels. To do this,.a new mode for measuring cost, the Basic Economic Unit, or BEU, has been developed. The probable volume of the various types of cargoes carried has been examined. It appears that grain was the dominant cargo in both coastal and overseas traffic. The total cost of building, maintaining and operating the seagoing and inland water shipping was less than one percent of the gross product of Britain, a small cost for an essential service. Table of Contents 111. Abstract ii Table of Contents iiAppendices and Glossaries v List of Tables vi List of Maps viList of Illustrations viii Acknowledgements xviDedication xviii Section I: Some General Considerations 1.1. Introduction 2 1.2. Materials to be Transported, Sources, Destinations 7 1.3. Containers and Packaging: Security 10 1.4. Tools 16 1.5. Procurement and Conversion of Timber 21 1.6. Metal Work for Transportation Systems 3 1.7. Discussion and Conclusion 24 Section II: Water Transport II. 1. Introduction 29 11.2. The Technology: Theory and Hypotheses on Hull Form and Construction 29 11.3. Theory and Hypotheses on Propulsion Systems and Methods 32 11.4. Bronze and Iron Age Predecessors and Frisian and Saxon Successors 34 11.5. Romano-British Ships and Boats: Some Hypotheses 45 11.6. Five Excavated Gallo-Roman and Romano-British Ships and Boats. 6.1. Introduction 50 6.2. The Types of Vessels Needed in Roman Britain 53 6.3. The Logboats and Hide Boats 56.4 Some Difficulties in Building Planked Boats 54 6.5. The Flat-Bottomed Chine type Barges in Europe 5 6.6 Hypothetical Flat-bottomed Barges in Britain 56 iv. 6.7. The New Guy's House Boat (c. AD 180) 57 6.8. The Blackfriars Ship 1 (c. AD 150) 60 6.9. The Barland's Farm Boat (late 3rd cent. AD) 66 6.10. The St. Peter Port Ship (c. AD 285) 70 6.11. The County Hall Ship (c. AD 300)11.7.1. The Literary Evidence 81 11.7.2. The Epigraphic Evidence 3 11.7.3. The Iconographic Evidence 5 11.8. Harbours, Havens, Wharves and Warehouses 8.1. Introduction 87 8.2. Roman Water-borne Transportation Requirements 88 8.3. The Types and Sizes of Ports 90 8.4. The Search for Roman Harbours and Harbour Installations in Britain 91 8.5. An Alternative or Supplementary Hypothesis 94 8.6. Canals and Artificial Waterways 98 Annexes to Section II.8. Annex 1. The classis Britannica 100 Annex 2. List of Tidal Ranges around Britain 102 Annex 3. The Problem of Subsidence, Silting, Coastal Erosion and Littoral Drift on the East and South Coasts of Britain 103 Annex 4. Cleere's List of harbours from the Roman Road System 105 Annex 5. Possible Minor Harbours around Britain from the River Tyne to the River Exe 106 11.9. Discussion and Conclusions on The Technology of Romano-British Vessels and Harbour Facilities 9.1. Introduction 114 9.2. The Constraints9.3. The Technology of Hull Construction for Romano-British vessels .118 9.4. The Technology of Harbour Installations in Roman Britain 123 9.5 Summary and Conclusions on the Technology of Roman Water-Borne Transport 126 Section III: The Economics of Water-Borne Transport III. 1. Introduction 129 111.2. The Cargoes and Types of Vessel Needed 131 111.3. The Cost of Building Four Representative Vessels 135 111.4. The Cost of Operating and Maintaining Four Representative Vessels and their Useful Working Life 153 III. 5. The Volume of Goods to be Transported, and the Number of Vessels Needed for Sea and Coastal Voyages, and Inland River Movements 160 III.6. Discussion and Conclusions on the Cargoes Carried, and the Costs of Building and Operating the Vessels 174 v. contents Section VI: Summary and Overall Conclusions IV. 1. The Technology of Romano-British Ships 178 IV.2. The Costs and Cargoes for Romano-British Shipping 179 IV.3 Further Research 17Appendices Appendix A. Some Fundamental Mechanics and their Expression in the Basic and Derived Units in the Systeme International a"Unite, or S.I. 181 Appendix B. The Basic Energy Unit (BEU) 184 Appendix C. The Late Pre-Roman Iron Age and Romano-British Countryside and Environment 19Appendix D. Iron Production and Distribution in Roman Britain 199 Appendix E. Non-Ferrous Metal Production and Distribution in Roman Britain 205 Appendix F. Pottery Production and Distribution 212 Appendix G. Salt Production in Roman Britain: Sources and Distribution 224 Appendix H. Masonry Quarries and Gravel Pits 231 Annex 1: Notes on Quarry Sites Reported in Britannia, 1970-2001 237 Annex 2: Notes on Quarries along Hadrian's Wall 246 Annex 3: Notes on Roman Masonry in Britain: Its Sources and Points of Use 250 Appendix I. Timber and Wood: Sources, Conversion and Uses in Roman Britain 253 Appendix J. Coal Production in Roman Britain: Sources and Distribution 262 Appendix K. Bricks and Tiles: Manufacturing Centres and Distribution 267 Appendix L. Major and Minor Towns, and Legionary Fortresses: their River and Road Connections 274 Appendix M. A Hypothetical Transport for Fifty Men in Caesar's Expedition to Britain in 54 BC 287 Appendix N. Five Hypothetical Romano-British Flat-Bottomed Barges 289 Appendix O. Possible Haven Sites from The Firth of Tay in the North along the East and South Coasts to the River Exe in Devon 293 Appendix P. The Times and Costs for Various Activities in Building a Boat or Ship 304 Glossaries Glossary of Maritime Terms 317 Glossary of Tools and Technology 321 Glossary of Timber Conversion, Woodland, Agricultural and Countryside Terms 326 vi. contents Bibliography 438 List of Tables Table III.3.1 Nail costs as percentage of total costs 152 Table III.3.2 Capital cost per tonne of cargo carrying capacity 152 Table III.4.1 Annual depreciation allowance per year 156 Table III.4.2 Total annual and major overhaul costs in BEUs 158 Table III.4.3 Annual operating, replacement and maintenance costs 158 Table III.4.4 Annual costs per tonne of cargo capacity 159 Table III.5.1 Number of ships needed to move grain to the North-East 164 Table III.5.2 Number of ships needed to move grain to the west coast ports ..164 Table III.5.3 Number of ships needed to move grain to South Wales 165 Table III.5.4 Number of Blackfriars Shipl types for overseas and coastal cargoes 171 Table III.5.5 Annual costs for internal and coastal shipping 174 Table App.B.l Seed sown per hectare in kg (averaged over 250 years) 191 Table App.B.2 Yield in kg per hectare 19Table App.B.3 % of seed retained for next planting 191 Table App.D. 1 Annual iron production in the Weald 201 Table App.H.l Types of quarry 234 Table App.J.l Sources for mining, and locations for the use of coal 265 Table App.N.l Dimensions and quantities of materials needed 290 Table App.N.2 Draught, freeboard and weight of cargo 291 vii. contents Table App.P.l Number, weight and value of blooms for iron nails 306 Table App.P.2 Time required to forge nails for