Why anchors are important

Why Anchors are important

The anchor is an iconic symbol of our maritime past, our present and our future. For over 4,000 years the anchor has been every mariner’s vital item of safety equipment. Sometimes the anchor is the last remaining visible symbol of an incident at sea – whether cut loose in emergency or marking the last resting place of a shipwreck.

Ever since man first took to the sea he has made anchors. First of stone then of metal, the changes in design demonstrates technological progress through the centuries. The distribution of particular types may show old trade routes, or mark the progress of exploration, and all this evidence is just lying around us everyday.

Although anchors are considered symbols of the maritime world, it is surprising how little work has been undertaken to date in terms of collecting and organising the wealth of information that exists in the form of anchors found on wreck-sites, in museums and on public and private property all over the world.
The NAS is helping to address this issue with the Big Anchor Project, which is aiming to develop a global tool for the identification of anchors by helping individuals to gather information in a consistent format. The Big Anchor Project has produced in a freely-accessible, on-line database of anchors which can serve as a valuable tool for anybody undertaking research or with a general interest in the subject.