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The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

Research Group: Maritime Archaeology

Currently Active:

Researchers in the Maritime Archaeology group undertake innovative, multidisciplinary research in areas from Pleistocene submerged landscapes, to shipwreck archaeology, ethnographic studies, ethics and heritage, and experimental archaeology

Southampton is a world-leading centre for Maritime Archaeology. Work by the group transforms our understanding of maritime and underwater cultural heritage on a global scale through innovation, research and capacity building. Much of this research is conducted in areas of threat and in regions where collaborating with local partners can make a significant and quantifiable change. Current research is focused on understanding:

  • Endangered maritime heritage, notably in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Early ship technology (e.g. the Baltic, Black Sea and Sutton Hoo)
  • The application of state-of-the-art technologies to map submerged landscapes and settlements
  • Maritime aspects of early human colonisation
  • Development-led assessment and fieldwork in Maritime Archaeology

Key Projects

Adams is scientific lead on the £8 million Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project , funded by the Rausing Trust. As well as transforming our knowledge of the palaeo-hydrology, geomorphology and early settlement of this key region, a major highlight is the discovery of c. 70 deep-water wrecks of the Classical to late Medieval period in the anaerobic environment of the Black Sea.

Blue co-directs the Maritime Endangered Archaeology (MarEA) project, which is engaged in rapidly and comprehensively documenting and assessing threats to the maritime and coastal archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa. The work is funded by Arcadia.

Combining underwater, aerial and ground based survey, and excavation, the AHRC-funded Submerged Neolithic of the Western Isles project is investigating a new type of Neolithic (c.4000–2200 BC) site: manmade and modified islands, or crannogs. The project is co-directed by Sturt.

Associated research themes

The Centre for Maritime Archaeology provides a focus for maritime archaeological research at the University of Southampton.

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