Forest Resources for Iberian Empires: Ecology & Globalization in the Age of Discovery

What impact did the European Age of Discovery have on forests in Iberia? During the 16th – 18th c., what characterized an ‘Iberian’ ship? How are ancient forests and individual trees represented in the shipbuilding records of history and archaeology? How do wood science, nautical archaeology, and historical narratives come together to address these myriad questions?

ForSEAdiscovery is a Marie-Curie ITN project (PITN-GA-2013-607545) that is revolutionizing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. Within this framework, interdisciplinarity examines a phenomenon from different perspectives, and with the explanations of this phenomena produced, connecting stories are told. On the other hand, multidisciplinarity requires that each discipline involved in the explanation of a given phenomenon produces distinct, independent stories. Here, you can read, watch, and listen to these stories as told by the project’s 12 doctoral and post-doctoral fellows. Some will connect with each other, exemplifying interdisciplinarity; others will be more independent thus reflecting multidisciplinarity. All stories, however, will introduce various aspects of the project as experienced through the research practices of a dynamic international team of young academics.

Through individual and team efforts, and with the guidance of our respective professional coordinators and research centres, we are engaging the sciences (wood anatomy, dendrochronology, dendrochemistry, DNA analyses, FTIR) with the humanities (history and archival research, archaeology, cartography). We are consistently challenged with developing novel ideas, cutting-edge technologies, and new ways to share and apply them. During this exciting time for European inter- and multi-disciplinarity, we invite you to explore with us. Browse 500 year old archives in quaint Iberian villages, saw through the structural timbers of an underwater galleon, take core samples from mountain forests across the peninsula, develop tree-ring chronologies that will help us revisit the past places where forests of oak and pine furnished ship timbers for galleons, frigates, carracks, and naus. These are the ships that helped map the world as we know it, and here are the forests that made the ships.