Maritime Archaeology

Maritime archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline within archaeology as a whole that specifically studies human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of associated physical remains, be they vessels, shore side facilities, port-related structures, cargoes, human remains and submerged landscapes. A specialty within maritime archaeology is nautical archaeology, which studies vessel construction and use. As with archaeology as a whole, maritime archaeology can be practised within the historical, industrial, or pre-historical periods. An associated discipline, and again one that lies within archaeology itself, is underwater archaeology, which studies the past through any submerged remains be they of maritime interest or not. An example from the pre-historic era would be the examination of remains submerged in ancient wells or cenotes, or of Indigenous sites now lying underwater yet well away from the sea or inland waters. The study of submerged aircraft lost in lakes, rivers or in the sea is an example from the historical or industrial era. Many specialist sub-disciplines within the broader maritime and underwater archaeological categories have emerged in recent years.

Maritime archaeological sites often result from shipwrecks or sometimes seismic catastrophes, and thus represent a moment in time rather than a slow deposition of material accumulated over a period of years, as is the case with port-related structures ( such as piers, wharves and jetties) where objects are lost or thrown off structures over extended periods of time. This fact has led to shipwrecks often being described in the media and in popular accounts as 'time capsules'.

Archaeological material in the sea or in other underwater environments is typically subject to different factors than artifacts on land. However, as with land archaeology what survives to be investigated by modern archaeologists can often be a tiny fraction of the material originally deposited. A feature of maritime archaeology is that despite all the material that is lost, there are occasional rare examples of substantial survival, from which a great deal can be learned, due to the difficulties often experienced in accessing the sites.

There are those in the archaeology community who see maritime archaeology as a separate discipline with its own concerns (such as shipwrecks) and requiring the specialized skills of the underwater archaeologist. Others value an integrated approach, stressing that nautical activity has economic and social links to communities on land and that archaeology is archaeology no matter where the study is conducted. All that is required is the mastering of skills specific to the environment in which the work occurs.

Read more about Maritime ArchaeologyIntegrating Land and Sea, Preservation of Material Underwater, Coastal and Foreshore, Ships and Shipwrecks, Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Australia

Other articles related to "maritime archaeology, archaeology":

Center For Maritime Archaeology And Conservation (CMAC)
... The Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation (CMAC) was created in May 2005 by the regents of Texas A M University ... CMAC supports the Nautical Archaeology Program (NAP) in the Department of Anthropology and strengthens the position of the NAP as the leading program in ... and coordination to scholars worldwide in projects related to nautical archaeology, maritime archaeology, underwater archaeology, or conservation of material recovered ...
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Maritime History Of The United Kingdom - Maritime Museums - Maritime Archaeology
... Maritime archaeology is important in Britain because of the large number of shipwrecks around the coast and because of the large areas off the coast that have been submerged by rising ... The archaeology of shipwrecks covers sites from the Bronze Age onward ...
Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Australia
... Maritime Archaeology emerged in Australia commenced in the 1970s with the advent of Jeremy Green due to concerns expressed by academics and politicians with the rampant destruction of the Dutch and British East ... Studies now include as an element of Underwater archaeology, as a whole, the study of submerged indigenous sites ... Nautical Archaeology, (the specialised study of boat and ship construction) is also practised in the region ...