99. Shipwrecks: The Vasa

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

“My story starts at sea…a perilous voyage to an unknown land…a shipwreck… (Shakespeare in Love (1998), directed by John Madden)

 

Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where we demonstrate how everything has a history and how those histories link together in unexpected ways!

 

For this episode let us join the Gustavus Adolphus of maritime marvels, Dr Sam Willis, and the man who thirsts for history like a drowning man thirsts for oxygen, Professor James Daybell, as they navigate their way through tumultuous waters and hidden undercurrents to bring you safety to the unexpected history of one particular shipwreck; the Vasa.

 

Our experienced crew will pilot you along the dangerous coastline, through unpredictable channels, from the statistics of the actual ship itself to the sheer amount of artefacts discovered, from the painstaking process of recreating lost fabrics to the gendering of skeletal remains, from the women brought to court for wearing men’s apparel to the social power of today’s museums, from the breath-taking carvings upon the sides of the Vasa with its implicit demonstration of relationships between nations to the different types of cannon ball carried onboard, from the collaborative nature of the ship’s design to the maverick divers of the mid seventeenth century, without whom much of the Vasa would have been lost, and from the immediacy of tragedy to eye witness accounts of those who survived it sinking, this unique look at the Vasa demonstrates how different interpretations can bring new research directly to the public, broadening our understanding of the multifaceted nature of the human story.

 

James and Sam run aground and discover that this unexpected history is actually all about; interpretation and gender, slow looking and perspective, definition and adaptation, sexuality and inclusivity, colour and visualisation, impact and tragedy, immediacy and removal, dissemination and education.

 

Listen out as Sam makes a truly awful pun – it’s to do with cannon balls and hors d’oeuvres, yes really!

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