Dominican Republic Anchor Data Analysis
Anchors of the 15th and 16th century are typically square in cross
section. The shank is the largest piece of iron to which everything
else is attached. The arms of the anchor are typically attached at the
bottom of the shank. At the end of the arms are flukes. These are
used to dig into the ground and hold the anchor in place. The
proportions of the anchor give clues as to the time period from which
- 1.Typically the shank is
three times the length of the arms, or longer.
- 2.The distance of the arm
including the fluke , from the tip of the fluke to the shank, and from that point to the tip of the anchor are
equal. Therefore they form a unilateral triangle.
- 3. The distance from one
fluke to the other is typically 2/3 the length of the shank.
- 4. The angle between the
arms and the shank is extremely important for dating the anchor. Before
1550 the angle was 45 degrees. After 1550 the angle averaged 53 degrees but
would range from 40 to 70 degrees.
The Caballo Blanco Anchor
Shank = 11 feet
Arms = 2.73 feet
Angle between the shank and the arms = 69 degrees +/- 4 degrees
The Santa Maria
Angle between the shank and the arms = 65 degrees +/- 4 degrees
It is possible that both the Caballo Blanco anchor and the Santa
Maria anchor are from the same time periods. However, the angles between
the shank and the arms don't fit the description of anchors before 1550.
Last updated: 3 October 1996
Comments: Underwater Science
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