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Social Sciences - Anthropology & Archaeology | The Archaeology of Maritime Landscapes

The Archaeology of Maritime Landscapes

Series: When the Land Meets the Sea, Vol. 2

Ford, Ben (Ed.)

2011, XV, 352 p. 80 illus.

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  • Features an extensive geographic scope, covering maritime sites in the United States, Europe, and Australia
  • Examines many of the theoretical and methodological questions and applies them to concrete case studies
  • Offers a landscape approach that provides cohesive theory of terrestrial and underwater site interaction

Maritime cultural landscapes are collections of submerged archaeological sites, or combinations of terrestrial and submerged sites that reflect the relationship between humans and the water.  These landscapes can range in size from a single beach to an entire coastline and can include areas of terrestrial sites now inundated as well as underwater sites that are now desiccated. 

However, what binds all of these sites together is the premise that each aspect of the landscape –cultural, political, environmental, technological, and physical – is interrelated and can not be understood without reference to the others. In this maritime cultural landscape approach, individual sites are treated as features within the larger landscape and the interpretation of single sites add to a larger analysis of a region or culture. This approach provides physical and theoretical links between terrestrial and underwater archaeology as well as prehistoric and historic archaeology; consequently, providing a framework for integrating such diverse topics as trade, resource procurement, habitation, industrial production, and warfare into a holistic study of the past.

Landscape studies foster broader perspectives and approaches, extending the study of maritime cultures beyond the shoreline. Despite this potential, the archaeological study of maritime landscapes is a relatively untried approach with many questions regarding the methods and perspectives needed to effectively analyze these landscapes. 

The chapters in this volume, which include contributions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Australia, address many of the theoretical and methodological questions surrounding maritime cultural landscapes. The authors comprise established scholars as well as archaeologists at the beginning of their careers, providing a healthy balance of experience and innovation. The chapters also demonstrate parity between method and theory, where the varying interpretations of culture and space are given equal weight with the challenges of investigating both wet and dry sites across large areas.

Content Level » Graduate

Keywords » Archaeological Method and Theory - CRM and nautical archaeology - Cultural Resource Management - Maritime Cultural Landcapes - Mesolithic underwater archaeology - Neolithic material culture - Underwater Archaeology - archaeology of historic ships - coastal landscape archaeology - wet sites and archaeology

Related subjects » Anthropology & Archaeology

Table of contents 

Preface: Putting the Wheels on Maritime Cultural Landscape Studies

David J. Stewart



Ben Ford


Chapter 1

Searching for Santarosae: Surveying Submerged Landscapes for Evidence of Paleocoastal Habitation off California’s Northern Channel Islands

Jack Watts, Brian Fulfrost, and Jon Erlandson


Chapter 2

Testing the Paleo-Maritime Hypothesis for Glacial Lake Iroquois

Implications for Changing Views of Past Culture and Technology

Margaret Schulz, Susan Winchell-Sweeney, and Laurie Rush


Chapter 3

Lake Ontario Paleoshorelines and Submerged Prehistoric Site Potential in the Great Lakes

Jessi Halligan


Chapter 4

The Shoreline as a Bridge, Not a Boundary: Cognitive Maritime Landscapes of Lake Ontario

Ben Ford


Chapter 5

Rock, Paper, Shipwreck!

The Maritime Cultural Landscape of Thunder Bay

            Wayne R. Lusardi


Chapter 6

Ship to Shore: Inuit, Early Europeans, and Maritime Landscapes in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence

William W. Fitzhugh, Anja Herzog, Sophia Perdikaris, and Brenna McLeod


Chapter 7

Temporal Changes in a Pre-Contact and Contact Period Cultural Landscape along the Southern Rhode Island Coast

Christopher Jazwa


Chapter 8

A Maritime Landscape of Old Navy Cove and Deadman’s Island

Krista Dana Jordan-Greene


Chapter 9

Potential Contributions of a Maritime Cultural Landscape Approach to Submerged Prehistoric Resources, Northwestern Gulf of Mexico

Amanda M. Evans and Matthew E. Keith


Chapter 10

Modeling Maritime Culture; Galveston, Texas in the Historic Period

Matthew E. Keith and Amanda M. Evans


Chapter 11

The Hidden World of the Maritime Maya: Lost Landscapes along the North Coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico

Jeffrey B. Glover, Dominique Rissolo, and Jennifer P. Mathews


Chapter 12

Material Culture and Maritime Identity: Identifying Maritime Subcultures through Artifacts

Heather E. Hatch


Chapter 13

The “Richest River in the World”: The Maritime Cultural Landscape of the Mouth of the Río Chagres, Republica de Panamá 

James P. Delgado, Frederick H. Hanselmann, and Dominique Rissolo


Chapter 14

US Shipbuilding Activities at American River, South Australia: Finding Significance of ‘Place’ in the Maritime Cultural Landscape

Claire P. Dappert


Chapter 15

“What Do You Want to Catch?”: Exploring the Maritime Cultural Landscapes of the Queenscliff Fishing Community

Brad Duncan


Chapter 16

The Binary Relationship of Sea and Land

Christer Westerdahl


Chapter 17

Places of Special Meaning: Westerdahl’s Comet, ‘Agency’, and the Concept of the ‘Maritime Cultural Landscape’

Joe Flatman


Conclusion: The Maritime Cultural Landscape Revisited

Christer Westerdahl


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