Shipwrecks are a key site-type for maritime archaeological research and their investigations have been prominent in the subject’s development over the last sixty years. At one time their value was often squandered, with anything from cursory surveys to total excavations being undertaken for the same reason George Mallory suggested that mountains were climbed: because they were there. Today it is recognised that the remains of wrecked ships, through their distribution in time and space, their variety and their complexity, comprise one of the richest forms of archaeological source material. This volume brings together researchers who explore the ways in which ships can be understood and interpreted as material culture through their wreck sites, focusing on ships as artefacts, as agents, as technology, as society, as ideology and as symbols, as well as on what they carried and the people who sailed on them. Collectively they show that shipwrecks are not just the preserve of nautical specialists but have wider implications for the understanding of human action and past societies.
The editors: Jonathan Adams is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton and the founding Director of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) and Johan Rönnby, Professor of Archaeology and Director of the Maritime Archaeological Research Institute (MARIS) at Södertörn University.