The Environmental Science Graduate Students at Watlings Castle, San Salvador, Bahamas.(TME 98)
you’ve ever seen Indiana Jones, you’d know why I want to be an archaeologist,
despite the Hollywood glamour. If
you’ve read Clive Cussler and his thrilling stories of underwater adventure –
and misadventure – you would understand why I love marine archaeology.style="mso-spacerun: yes"> There are so many things we can learn
from the underwater cities and wrecks that little the marine landscape, and
SCUBA diving for such sites has a romantic, mysterious appeal to it.style="mso-spacerun: yes"> This is why I’ve chosen to study the
shipwrecks of the Caribbean.
archaeology, also known the world over as nautical, marine, or maritime
archaeology, is the study of the material remains of people, much like normal
archaeology. The one main difference, which creates a whole new area of
anthropological study, is that the excavations take place almost exclusively
under the water, focusing on the interactions between people and the water.
marine archaeology is, by far, one of the most important areas of this new area
of study. During the first thirty years of European exploration of the “New
World”, over one hundred ships were lost in the areas around what is now
sometimes called the West Indies. Because those areas became well-traveled
paths of important European trade routes, many wrecks occurred around today’s
Florida Keys and Bahamas, including the wreck of the San Pedro, off the Florida
Key of Isla Morada.
wrecks are often referred to as a “non-renewable resource” by many
archaeologists. Spanish galleons full of gold and treasure, as the legends go,
will never again cross the Atlantic only to perish on the Caribbean’s beautiful
and yet undeniably deadly coral reefs. Because of this, Florida has begun to
develop a series of underwater parks in order to preserve the shipwrecks as
much as possible.
What is marine archaeology?
Why study it?
Techniques of excavation
Groups interested in the pursuit of marine archaeology
Conservation of both the ships and the environment
George Fletcher. Archaeology Underwater. London: Thames & Hudson,
“Diving Into the Past:
Theories, Techniques and Applications of Underwater Archaeology”. Conference on
Underwater Archaeology. eds. June Drenning Holmquist and Ardis Hillman Wheeler.
St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society, 1964.
of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology. James Delgado, ed.
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.
Daniel. Submerged.style="mso-spacerun: yes"> New York: The Newmarket Press, 2002;
Robert. Shipwrecks of the
Western Hemisphere. New York:
The World Publishing Company, 1971.
Colin. Conservation of the
Peter. Shipwrecks and
Archaeology: The Unharvested Sea.style="mso-spacerun: yes"> Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970.
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