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Research project: HMS Victory computer modelling project - Dormant - Dormant

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Students and staff in the Archaeological Computing Research Group are working on a high resolution computer graphic model of HMS Victory. Although the ship survives in dry dock in Portsmouth, the production of a very detailed digital model will enable research in areas such as the use of the ship and its components, and the impact of changes to the ship through time.

Below are descriptions of a few initial animations (see 'Useful downloads' for the animations themselves). Special thanks to MSc students Katherine Robbins, Ioanna Giannakopoulou, Matt Jones, Hembo Pagi and Henriette Roued Olsen who produced the CAD models upon which the following animations by Gareth Beale are based.

Chain pump

The chain pump, reproduced by Ioanna Giannakopoulou, ensured that the Victory did not take on too much sea water. It pumped water from the bilge of the ship upwards to the top deck where it could run back into the sea, perhaps after having been used to clean the decks. In the animation we can see the water levels in the bilge going down as the handles on deck are turned by invisible crew. The chain pump was worked by turning an endless chain attached to which were leather discs which would be pulled up a tube running through the ship carrying the water with them.


Capstans, such as that below produced Hembo Pagi, were used on board the Victory as a means of lifting heavy weights. Crew members would use wooden bars to rotate the drum which would wind in a rope. There were two capstans on the ship; the main capstan was used to raise the anchor, while the jeer capstan was used for other lifting tasks such as loading stores and boats onto the ship. The capstan in the animation is the jeer capstan. We can see how it was constructed and how it would have been turned by members of the crew.


The bowsprit, produced by Katherine Robbins, is the foremost mast on the ship. In this animation we take a close look at its construction and at its position in space at the bow of the vessel.


The 18ft (approximately 5.5m) cutter produced by Matt Jones was the smallest of the boats carried by the Victory. It would have been used to perform various duties which were essential to the activities of a large battleship. These would have included carrying men from ship to ship as well as surveying rivers or coastlines. In this animation we can see the oars being pulled and the ship moving away from us through the water.


The presence of a stove on the Victory needs little explanation. This wood burning stove produced by Henriette Roued Olsen would have been used to prepare food for all of the crew and officers. The flue from the stove would have gone up through two decks of the ship and smoke would have been vented through a chimney situated on deck. The animation shows the stove from all angles and the burning wood inside.

Related research groups

Archaeological Computing
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