The Primal Fear: Historical Archaeology and De-Accessioning
In 1996, former SHA Curation Committee Chair Bob Sonderman (Museum Resource Center, National Park Service)…
To follow on from the first set of 2015 SHA conference videos, posted last month, here are some Underwater/Maritime Archaeology videos:
Reconstructing Holocene Wetlands of Northern England: New Paleogeographic Models in the Humber Estuary
Eric A. Rodriguez
With the recent application of paleographic modelling on prehistoric wetland environments, it has been possible to observe not only the landscapes of past societies but also how the dynamic nature of these environs influenced the phenomenology and settlement patterns of such peoples. This paper focuses on two areas from Northern England’s Humber Estuary and describes the interactions between the reconstructed palaeolandscapes of Roos Carr and Ferriby and the shifting settlement patterns from the Late Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Given the rapid sea-level change of the period, this study contributes to the existing discourse concerning the interconnectivity of climate change, dynamic landscapes and past societies. The aims of this study are not solely focused on reconstructive modelling techniques, but move rather, towards an investigation into the role of dynamic maritime landscapes in crafting Holocene phenomenologies and influencing settlement patterns in the Humber Estuary.
The Medieval Shipwrecks of Novy Svet: A Reassessment
John A Albertson
Since 1997, Dr. Sergey Zelenko of the Centre for Underwater Archaeology (CUA) at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev has been conducting survey and excavation near the resort town of Novy Svet on the southern coast of the Crimean peninsula. CUA researchers have discovered the remains of three medieval shipwrecks spanning the 10th to the late 13th centuries, illuminating much about Black Sea seafaring. Recently, multi-national CUA teams discovered hull timbers, anchors and vessel materials dating from the early Classical to the Medieval periods. Careful mapping of these materials has shown that they have discrete distributions. While it has commonly been held that organic preservation at the site is poor, recent finds challenge this and demand a renewed effort to ascertain the full extent of the assemblage. Further, these findings demonstrate that in situ or nearly in situ preservation of wreck sites may be found even in dynamic littorals.
Maritime Archaeology in Albania: Connecting the Dots Along an Overlooked Coastline
Loren R Clark While
Albania boasts over 400 kilometers of coastline, very little research has been done to learn about the significance of this dynamic coast. Until recently, it has been difficult for outside research to be done in Albania, but that is rapidly changing thanks to government agencies supporting research in many different fields targeted specifically along the coast and in the offshore regions. Because of this renewed energy in bringing attention to the coast, this project has sought to aid in the overall management of submerged cultural resources in Albania by presenting a baseline of datasets from many different disciplines as well as analysis of coastal morphology changes and the potential for submerged sites along the entire Albanian coastline. In doing so, this project will also seek to bring awareness and future researchers to an area of the Adriatic Sea that has been overlooked for far too long.
Scrannying for Spidge amongst the Shipwrecks; Interviewing the Pirates of Plymouth, England.
Mallory R. Haas
Over the past 2 years the SHIPS Project has set out to conduct several dozen oral histories concerning divers’ recollections from the early days of scuba diving in Plymouth, UK. These oral histories were undertaken for several reasons, to better understand the layout of virgin shipwrecks when first located, to record the items recovered, which are affectionately known as ‘spidge’, and to document the human interest and lust for ‘scrannying’. What has been explored and expanded upon within the oral histories is the true appreciation for the cultural heritage of these shipwrecks, from within this diving community. We have also gained trust and access to recording finds information, allowing us to build our knowledge of Plymouth Sound’s cultural heritage. Within the process, we were able to capture interviews that convey the vagabond adventure that lures a person to become a diver, while finding the true definition of a pirate.
The Newport Medieval Ship in Context: The Life and Times of a 15th Century Merchant Vessel Trading in Western Europe
Toby N. Jones and Nigel Nayling
This paper presents a summary of recent research into the broader economic, cultural and political world in which the Newport Medieval Ship was built and operated. Digital modeling of the original hull form has revealed the dimensions, capacity, and performance of the vessel. Examination of the individual ship timbers and overall hull form have led to a greater understanding of shipbuilding and woodland resource management in the late medieval period. Archaeological research has helped to illuminate the origins of the vessel and revealed details about its use-life. Direct evidence of trade between the Iberian Peninsula and the British Isles has been uncovered, along with clues relating to the origin and size of the crew and general aspects of daily-life on board the ship. In addition, the online publication of a comprehensive digital archive has enabled unprecedented access to the wealth of detailed archaeological data produced by the project.