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Research Activities

Recent projects

Sailing into modernity: Comparative Perspectives on the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century European Economic Transition

  • This project, led by Dr Maria Fusaro, analysed the economic transition in Early Modern Europe through a comparative study of the contractual conditions and economic treatment of sailors active in the Mediterranean through an innovative interdisciplinary approach employing tools from legal, economic and social history.

Average-Transaction Costs and Risk Management during the First Globalization (Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries)

  • This project led by Dr Maria Fusaro, analysed maritime risk management across medieval and early modern Europe, through the investigation of a legal instrument – general average (GA) – which underpins maritime trade by redistributing damages’ costs across all interested parties.

Early projects

The first collective contribution of members of the Centre was in producing the two-volume The New Maritime History of Devon (Conway Maritime Press, 1992, 1994). The research for this project was funded by a large Leverhulme grant. The New Maritime History of Devon includes articles from 54 British, American, Australian, Canadian and South African scholars.

In the mid 1990s, another large Leverhulme grant supported the research into the changes and adaptations of the maritime sector of the British economy since 1880. This project resulted in the following publications by Exeter University Press:

  • David J. Starkey & Alan G. Jamieson (eds), Exploiting the Sea: Aspects of Britain's Maritime Economy since 1870, (1998);
  • D.J. Starkey with Richard Gorski, Sue Milward & Tony Pawlyn (eds), Shipping Movements in the Ports of the United Kingdom 1871-1913: A Statistical Profile, (1999);
  • A.G. Jamieson, Ebb Tide in the British Maritime Industries: Change and Adaptation 1918-1990, (2003).

Maritime History Records Database

The Leverhulme Trust also supported the cataloguing of the sources for maritime history in the Maritime Archives of England and Wales, the results of which is now available to everyone via the ELMAP database. The database was developed to meet the widely felt need for a guide to the very considerable sources for maritime history in the local archives of the United Kingdom. It was originally assembled over three years by the Leverhulme Research Fellow, Dr Todd Gray, with the generous co-operation of the Association of County Archivists which provided both financial assistance and the support of an advisory panel of County Archivists: Margery Rowe (Devon), Christine North (Cornwall) and Bryn Parry (Gwynnedd). Completion was delayed by local government reorganisation and the departure of Dr Gray into a career as a successful publisher. His work however has been the basis for continuing the project and developing it into a searchable database, revived and advanced to its present state by the enthusiastic efforts of Dr Helen Doe, supported by postgraduates of the Centre, and with the editorial assistance of Karen Toulalan.

AHRC grant: Guide to Naval Records

The most recent large grant has been from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to co-operate with the National Archive in producing a guide to its holdings of naval records, published as A Guide to the Naval Records in the National Archives of the UK, edited by R. Cock and N.A.M. Rodger (2006).

Naval History of Britain

Extensive funding has also been received from the Oxford Maritime Trust, The Navy Records Society and the Society for Nautical Research to assist Professor Nicholas Rodger to research and publish his internationally acclaimed Naval History of Britain - Volume 1 of which, The Safeguard of the Sea, 1660-1649 appeared in 1997 and Volume 2, The Command of the Ocean 1649-1815, in 2004.