Empire, Trees, and Climate in the North Atlantic: Towards Critical Dendro-Provenancing

5 09 2014

AS: I’m involved in a new research project entitled “Empire, Trees, and Climate in the North Atlantic: Towards Critical Dendro-Provenancing.” The project will advance our understanding of the flows of timber around the Atlantic world in the nineteenth century. The research findings should be interest to a wide range of people, including business historians, historical geographers, archaeologists, and others.  I’ll working as part of an interdisciplinary team that includes some great academics. They are:

Project Director : Kirsten Greer (Geography & History, Nipissing University) is a trained historical and cultural geographer interested in links between networks of empire, imperial defence, and the natural world during the nineteenth-century British Empire.

Co-Applicant : Adam Csank (Geography, Nipissing University) is a dendrochronologist, who specializes in the use of isotope dendrochronology in order to reconstruct past climate.

Co-Applicant: Kirby Calvert (Geography, Pennsylvania State University) examines the role of energy in coupling human-environment systems.  His work draws on geo-visualization techniques and mixed methodologies using geographic information systems.

Co-Applicant : Kimberly Monk (Archaeology & Anthropology, Bristol University) specializes in marine archaeology and will survey historic shipwrecks.

Co-Applicant: Andrew Smith (Management School, Liverpool University) researches  business history and the history of the British Empire.  (That’s me). 

Canada Docks Liverpool

Canada Docks Liverpool

As a business historian, my role will be to explore business archives. I’ll be researching  the timber agents in Liverpool who sold Canadian timber. I’ll map out their locations along the dockyards (see image above) and do archival research on Liverpool’s Canada Docks, which were built to handle imports of timber. I’ll also compile  timber trade statistics between BNA, Bermuda, Britain, and West Indies in the late 18th to mid 19th centuries. My research will done mainly in the National Museums Liverpool, Maritime Archives & Library, Liverpool University Special Collections & Archives, and Liverpool’s Central Library and Archives. I’ll also make at trip to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and may be involved with field research in Bermuda.


P.S. This image gives a sense of what dendrochronology is:






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