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Piotr Bojakowski

Assistant Professor
Contact
  • piotr.bojakowski@tamu.edu
  • Anthropology 105A
Professional Links
Program
Nautical Archaeology
Pronouns
He/His/Him

Specialty:

Dr. Bojakowski specializes in early modern nautical archaeology, shipbuilding and hull reconstruction, maritime and military history, GIS and remote sensing, 3D modeling and data visualization, and preservation of artifacts recovered from underwater sites. He has participated in numerous surveys, excavations, and other research projects in Northern Europe, Mediterranean, North America, and Southeast Asia.

Current Research Projects:

  • Western Ledge Reef Wreck Project 

The Western Ledge Reef Wreck Project, which provided the material for my dissertation, was the post-excavation analysis of a late 16th-century Iberian shipwreck and its associated artifacts in Bermuda. My research into the design methods of this vessel demonstrated a link between the late medieval ship construction founded on unempirical and intuitive style of local shipwrights and that of the geometrically- and scientific-rooted Renaissance philosophy. My research illustrated how Spanish ships were designed, built, and used as powerful vehicles connecting both sides of the Atlantic. As the manuscript is completed, I am currently in a process of expanding my research into an in-depth analysis of the 16th– and 17th-century collection of cultural material excavated from the site, which collectively reveals a story about the people who made this disastrous voyage. The goal is to publish it as a book.

  • Warwick Project

The Warwick Project, a joint effort of the National Museum of Bermuda (NMB), Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), Texas A&M University, and University of Southampton (UK), is one of my most significant research initiatives. The original focus of this project was the excavation of the hull remains and artifacts from Warwick, a ship that sank in Castle Harbour, Bermuda during the hurricane of 1619. Although the site was excavated between 2010 and 2012, the last field season provided sufficient evidence of an artefact scatter further into the bay.

Following the completion of the Warwick Project, I will continue my research on post-medieval seafaring in the Atlantic World. My focus is on Northern Europe, Bermuda, and the eastern shores of North and South America. This research program will expand on the theme of technological change and geographic expansion, as well as mercantilism and hegemony during the Early Modern era. I am planning on collaborating with colleagues from the University of Southampton and the University of Wales to analyze wood samples from three 17th-century English shipwrecks: Warwick, Sea Venture, and Eagle. This project will take a unique perspective on analyzing English ships that were used in a similar function for trans-Atlantic trade and colonization of North America.

  • Emerald Bay Project

The Emerald Bay Project was a collaboration between the University of California, San Diego and the Center for Interdisciplinary Science of Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), and California State Parks. This multi-disciplinary project aimed at post-excavation assessment of two 19th-century submerged barges located in Emerald Bay along the south-west shore of Lake Tahoe. The goal of the project was to support cultural monitoring, testing, and development of digital technologies, 3D recording methods, and Structure from Motion (SfM) for historic preservation as applied to the underwater environment. Today, these barges are part of an interpreted shipwreck trail within the California State Parks system. While SfM, the process of turning two dimensional digital images into a three-dimensional digital model, has emerged as a widely used tool for underwater archaeological research. The Emerald Bay Project was featured in a peer-reviewed article comparing the efficacy of Direct Survey Measurement (DSM) and Structure from Motion (SfM) in the Journal of Maritime Archaeology in July 2015.

As cultural monitoring of shipwrecks via digital means is becoming ever more important, I want to take this project a step further. My goal is to take what I have learned and apply it to cultural monitoring of the entire underwater battlefield at Pearl Harbor Memorial.

  • Equator Project

Another multi-disciplinary effort, the Equator Project, involves the application of new technologies to the preservation of historic ships. Equator was built by Matthew Turner, one of the most prolific and respected American shipwrights in the 19th century, in Benicia, California, in 1888. It was designed as a merchant sailing vessel to be used in the South Seas copra trade. During this time Equator was chartered by Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson, for his second cruise among the islands of the South Pacific. It was later sold and converted from sail to a steam tender for the Alaskan salmon canneries. Equator underwent its third transformation in 1915 when it was outfitted with a diesel engine and became a tugboat based out of Seattle. It remained in operation until 1956 at which time it was scuttled at the mouth of the Snohomish River in Everett, WA. Equator was raised in 1967, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and is currently dry-docked in the Port of Everett in Washington State. To support the Washington State Historic Preservation Office, City and Port of Everett, and Robert L. Stevenson Museum, Equator requires intensive field work to document and record the hull remain, take samples for dendro-analysis and timber sourcing, conduct archival and museum research, and to develop a long-term preservation and storage plan.

 

Courses Taught:

Anthropology:

ANTH 101: Introduction to Anthropology

ANTH 202: Human Origins & Prehistory

ANTH 307: Anthropology of War

ANTH 315: Material Culture: Archaeology and the Human Condition

ANTH 340: Anthropological Theory

ANTH 348: Native American Anthropology

ANTH 462: Anthropological Research Methods

ANTH 464: Applied Anthropology

Nautical Archaeology:

ANTH 489: History and Archaeology of Pirates and Privateers

ANTH 607: Historical Archaeology

ANTH 617: Conservation III

ANTH 618: Medieval Seafaring

ANTH 689: Applied Maritime Archaeology

History:

HIS 379: Atlantic World

Social Studies:

SSC101: Introduction to Social Sciences

 

Selected and Recent Publications:

Bojakowski, P., K. Custer-Bojakowski. (under review). “Warwick: an overview of the artifacts assemblage recovered from the early 17th-century English ship; Castle Harbour, Bermuda – Part 2.” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

Bojakowski, P., K. Custer-Bojakowski. 2017. “The Warwick: a final report on the excavation of the early 17th-century English shipwreck; Castle Harbour, Bermuda – Part 1.” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 46(2):  284-302.

Bojakowski, P., K. Custer-Bojakowski, P. Naughton. 2015. “A Comparison Between Structure from Motion and Direct Survey Methodologies on the Warwick.” Journal of Maritime Archaeology 10(2): 159-180.

Bojakowski, P. 2011. “The Western Ledge Reef Wreck: continuing research on the late 16th-/early 17th-century Iberian shipwreck from Bermuda.” Post-Medieval Archaeology 45(1):18-40.

Bojakowski, P., and K. Custer-Bojakowski. 2011. “The Warwick: results of the survey of an early 17th-century Virginia Company ship.” Post-Medieval Archaeology 45(1):41-53.

Bojakowski, P. 2007. “Venetian Nave Latina: The History and Rigging Reconstruction of a Thirteenth-Fourteenth Century Two-Masted Lateener.” Nautical Research Journal 52(4):195-203.