Gathering Information

 
> Gathering Information
Primary Sources:
People
Artefacts
Film and Photography
Secondary Sources:
Documents
Images
Models
Processing the Information

 

 

Any type of serious and scientific research cannot be conducted without the careful and meticulous acquisition of information, preferably from primary sources. This acquistition should be carried out separating facts from personal opinions, and sifting the historical truths from the legends that have contaminated every aspect of Venetian history.

 

This approach may seem obvious, but we have discovered all too often how this aspect is overlooked, both in History with a capital 'H' and in reporting where incompetence, inaccuracy, and laziness (not to mention deliberate falsification) interfere with the evidence so that any attempt at reconstruction or judgement is rendered useless.

  

It is easy to imagine, therefore, what has happened in a branch of history relating to marine culture that - like all 'material' histories - has always been considered minor; the only existing documentation concerns military and economic aspects, written in a bookish way without any interest for the technological aspects that are, at the end of the day, the elements that make the difference in battle, in trade and in exploration.

 

The underlying reason for this approach is the separation that still exists today between the world of the writer and the real world: it requires much less effort to enter into archive-based research than it does to enter a boatyard and overcome the natural diffidence of the owners or fishermen,  and persuade them to describe the actual problems of boatbuilding, sailing and fishing. Ethnographic research is a rough road paved with much incorrect information given both in good faith and in order to conceal trade secrets or illegal aspects. This difficult and dangerous system has, however, allowed us to witness at first hand some wonderful demonstrations of the instinctive aspects of boatbuilding, sailing and fishing. 

 

Even official historical documents can be misleading: although we are often sceptical about modern-day social surveys or statistical research, we tend to trust their historical equivalents without suspecting that they can lie or at the very least 'tame' reality. And it is easy to forget that theirs is only one version of events: the 'voice' of a person who knew how to write and who may well have been in a position of power.

  

For all of these reasons we have chosen to take the longest route, by attempting to integrate every source, making them interact with each other as illustrated in our presentation at the IX International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology, and in the work protocol (see diagram belove) which we formulated with Mauro Bondioli. 

 

Protocol for the acquisition and processing of information.
 

Information gathered from boatbuilders

Information gathered from artefacts

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