Archaeology: History, Theory and Issues in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology

INTRODUCTION TO THE TOPIC:History, Theory and Issues in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology provides students with a thorough understanding of the history, principles and theory in maritime and underwater archaeology. Students will read and critically evaluate key texts, including book chapters, journal articles and other relevant material. This will provide students with a solid knowledge base on the important figures and key thinking in maritime archaeology over the past century. The topic will provide a global theoretical and historical context in order to discuss and debate the most up- to-date problems and issues in the field.

Topic Aims:The primary aim of the topic is to introduce students to the fundamental history, theory and material aspects of maritime and underwater archaeology.

More specifically, the topic aims to:
provide foundational study in the discipline of maritime and underwater archaeology, and examine the field critically from an historical and theoretical perspective contextualise the role of maritime archaeology within other fields of archaeology and archaeology, anthropology and earth sciences as a whole provide a critical examination of some of the ways that humans have interacted with and exploited coastal regions as well as inland bodies of water using archaeological evidence examine key themes within maritime and underwater archaeology such as seafaring, the earliest watercraft, prehistoric dwellings to historically significant shipwrecks of the recent past provide a comprehensive examination of key issues in maritime and underwater archaeology relevant to the issues faced by professionals working in the discipline critically?

Learning Outcomes:

On completing this topic students will be able to: explain, thoroughly and critically, the history of the practice of underwater and coastal archaeology throughout the world articulate clearly the place and role of maritime archaeology in the interpretation of maritime sub-cultures and culture in the wider context, both written and verbally communicate, both verbally and in writing, archaeological research and knowledge, appropriately to range of audiences articulate critically the theoretical approaches to the discipline of maritime archaeology and archaeology under water.


Assignment Instructions

Reading Summary

This assignment requires me to write reading summaries for each of the weekly readings attached for week 12(WORD COUNT distributed between each reading summary).

Week 12

Maritime Archaeology in the 21st Century

Weekly readings:

  • Adams 2006 Editorial
  • 01 Flatman 2014
  • Ford 2011 MaritimeLandscapes
  • Soreide DeepwaterTechniqueTrondheim

Please write a short/brief introduction (background information) about the author for each reading summary.


Please use Harvard referencing style andonly reference one reading per summary. A total of 4 reading summaries.


The summaries should have detailed notes. They should be clear, concise and organized as a study and discussion tool.


Please also see an example of a reading summary attached for reference to illustrate one type of suitable style as well as appropriate content.


Always think critically about your readings. When reading please consider:

  • Author’s background (academic training, experience, projects, publication record institutional affiliation);
  • Archaeological problem, topic, issue (what relevant questions are being asked/answered through research; solving the identity of a shipwreck? presenting a new theory or applied methodology? introduction of a new research project to the field?) If not archaeology, explain problem, topic, and issues addressed;
  • Author’s thesis (what is the point? what arguments are authors making?);
  • Sources (primary v secondary, range of sources, interdisciplinary fields);
  • Discipline within archaeology or related sciences (theory, scientific method, material culture studies, legal, ethics etc.);
  • Significant findings (identify them and why they are / or to what degree they are relevant);
  • Archaeological contributions: what did this reading add to the general knowledge and/or specific knowledge? How did this work contribute to enrich or answer questions relating to archaeology or related fields?
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of work (there are always some of both);
  • Why did author write the article/chapter/book? (this may be different from their thesis or problem. For example, do they have an underlying agenda? their background information may help you discover this);
  • Overall assessment of reading (what do you think about the author’s ideas? Would you agree/disagree?).


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