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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

SMMI members awarded £1 million from AHRC for project on maritime and the digital humanities archives

Published: 13 May 2022
The three SMMI AHRC grant winners
Dr John McAleer, Jason Sadler, Dr Craig Lambert, and Dr Gary Baker

Three members of the SMMI have won funding for a major digital humanities project, after a successful AHRC bid.

Craig Lambert and John McAleer (History) with Jason Sadler (Geodata/Geography) were awarded £1 million by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

This is to undertake a 3-year project entitled ‘English Merchant Shipping, Maritime Communities, and Trade from the Spanish Armada to the Seven Years War, c.1588-c.1765’.

The project is part of ongoing work on maritime and the digital humanities archives that have been supported by SIAH and will chart the growth of England’s (later Britain’s) emergence as a global trading nation and maritime power, challenging pre-existing notions of how and why the nation’s maritime empire emerged as it did.

This will be achieved by undertaking the first, systematic, nationwide investigation of the records related to maritime commercial activity over two centuries. The project will produce the first pre-​modern register of British ships, redefine our understanding of the socio-cultural world of the maritime community, create lasting and interactive digital resources for scholars and the public and precisely map the development of England’s seaborne trade routes and global presence over two centuries (c.1588-c.1765).

The project’s impact partners are the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich), The Golden Hinde Trust (London), the SS Great Britain Museum (Bristol), and Southampton City Council. There is also a significant digital humanities element (involving THOTH from the University of Cambridge) which involves using artificial intelligence software that can read historical documents. THOTH aims to link with us to help the development of this software.


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