The nau of the Livro Nautico: reconstructing a sixteenth-century Indiaman from texts
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Documents and illustrations show that the premier ship in Portugal's India trade during the 16th century was the nau, a beamy, three-masted ship, known in northern Europe as a Ã¢ÂÂCarrack.Ã¢ÂÂ For decades these vessels carried passengers and cargo between Portugal and Asia. Despite the number of vessels involved, relatively little archaeological evidence of these ships exists. While 16th century shipbuilding documents predate the development of ships plans, they include theoretical treatises and scantling lists. From these documents it is possible to reconstruct the construction of a nau timber by timber, employing the mathematical relations and formulas used by the Portuguese shipwrights in conjunction with the timber specifications from a scantling list, creating a 3D computer model of the ship with Rhinoceros 3 modeling software. The result is an annotated and illustrated construction sequence that shows the placement of every timber in the vessel.
Hazlett, Alexander Dean (2003). The nau of the Livro Nautico: reconstructing a sixteenth-century Indiaman from texts. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from