What is Maritime Archaeology?
Maritime archaeology is the systematic study of the material remains of people and their activities on, under, near or associated with the sea. A variety of names have been given to studies in this general area, including underwater archaeology, marine archaeology, archaeology under water, nautical archaeology, and coastal archaeology. Archaeological sites can include the remains of ships (shipwrecks), boats (boat finds) or other watercraft, aircraft underwater, as well as cultural material dropped, lost or deliberately deposited in the water. Other sites or archaeological evidence includes the remains of structures that were built in, on or near the water, such as fishtraps, crannongs, bridges, piers, jetties and wharves. Maritime archaeology can also examine sites or remains that are completely dry, like lighthouses, harbour constructions, shore-based maritime industries (sealing and whaling), shipwreck shelter huts, houses of refuge, and lifesaving stations.
There are only a handful of universities worldwide that offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the study of maritime archaeology. The Department of Archaeology at Flinders University has taught maritime archaeology at undergraduate level since 1996 and at postgraduate level since 2002. The Graduate Program in Maritime Archaeology was established in 2002 and is now the largest and most successful of its kind in Australia. The program draws students from all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Japan.
Dedicated topics in maritime archaeology at Flinders include:
ARCH8150 Maritime Archaeology in Australia (4.5 units)
ARCH8151 Coastal and Underwater Archaeology (4.5 units)
ARCH8152 Maritime Archaeological Field School (4.5 units)
ARCH8153 Issues in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology (4.5 units)
ARCH8157 Methods in Underwater Archaeology (4.5 units)
ARCH8154 Underwater Cultural Heritage: Legislation, Management and Interpretation (4.5 units)
ARCH8155 Global Perspectives in Maritime Archaeology (4.5 units)
ARCH8156 Advanced Maritime Archaeology Fieldwork Practicum (4.5 units)
ARCH8158 Ships: Research, Recording and Reconstruction (4.5 units)
ARCH8159 Maritime Archaeology Fieldwork Practicum (4.5 units)
See a movie clip of students communicating underwater.
See a movie clip of students mapping underwater.