Scribe marks
The master carpenter and his craftsmen left many scribe marks etched into the wood to indicate spots where a timber needed shaping or modification. One such mark, called a surmark, pinpointed a critical location on timbers affecting the ship's overall design. This information eventually led us to the discovery of an unusual element in the ship's design, evidence of an otherwise archeologically undocumented early technique that alters the inward curve of each frame.



Scribe marks The Belle's shipwrights undoubtedly used the scribe marks seen on this piece of the interior hull planking (ceiling) to help build the ship, though we're not yet sure how.


Surmark A surmark cuts across the grain of a key timber.

Photos: courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission.