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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Marine Archaeology (PGHC11550)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide a broad introduction to the current methods and practice of Marine Archaeology. Rather than a specific time period or geographical area, the module focuses on general themes such as lake dwellings, shipwrecks, submerged cities and sunken harbours.
Course description This course will provide a broad introduction to Marine Archaeology and illustrate through a series of case studies how crucial the sea was in terms of human development. The social, economic and cultural progress of humanity has always been closely connected to the water and the sea. From the spread of human groups in early prehistory to the importance of container shipping and maritime commerce to modern economies today, sea travel has remained central to the development and maintenance of human societies. It seems odd then that it enjoys, at best, a supporting role in dominant historical narratives. In such narratives, it is common to read about the industrial and agricultural revolutions with little or no mention of the vital seafaring revolution that took place long before them. In this modern age of air travel, it is perhaps all too easy to underestimate the role of the sea. It is somewhat ironic that as global sea levels continue to rise, an awareness of the sea as a driver of human change and development has fallen at a similarly dramatic rate.

Case studies discussed in the course range widely in terms of geography and chronology with examples from Scandinavia to Australia which range in date from 10,000 years ago to the last century. An example of some of the issues we may tackle are:

Methods and techniques of underwater survey and excavation
Post-excavation processing of underwater material
The problems of conservation and wet finds processing
Shipwrecks from 1200 BC
Sunken harbours, sunken cities and processes of submergence
Lake dwellings and freshwater archaeology
Underwater archaeology vs. treasure hunting
Marine Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development
Policies and legal frameworks protecting Marine Cultural Heritage
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Archaeology courses at Grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  9
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1,000 word seminar paper (30%)

3,000 word essay (70%)
Feedback Students will receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Outline the range and scope of of Marine Archaeology and its importance in understanding human development (past, present and future);
  2. Describe the main methods, principles and techniques of underwater archaeological investigation (and express how these differ from those applied to sites located on land);
  3. Read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  4. Develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Adams, J. R. 2013: A Maritime Archaeology of Ships: Innovation and Social Change in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Oxbow Books, Havertown.

Blot, Jean-Yves 1996: Underwater archaeology: exploring the world beneath the Sea. Thames and Hudson, London.

Bowens, A. (ed.) 2009: Underwater archaeology: the NAS guide to principles and practice, The Nautical Archaeology Society, Blackwell, Oxford.

Burgess, R. F. 2000: Man: 12,000 Years Under the Sea, a Story of Underwater Archaeology.

Catsambis, A., Ford, B. and Hamilton, D. L. 2011: The Oxford handbook of maritime archaeology. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York.

Delgado, J. P. (ed.) 1997: Encyclopaedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology. British Museum.

Edward Babits, L. and Tilburg, H. V. (ed.) 1998: Maritime Archaeology: A Reader of Substantive and Theoretical Contributions. Plenum Series in Underwater Archaeology.

Gould, R. 2000: Archaeology and the Social History of Ships.

Henderson, J. 2019: Oceans without History? Marine Cultural Heritage and the Sustainable Development Agenda. Sustainability 11 (18): 5080.

Muckelroy. K. 1978: Maritime archaeology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Steffy J.R. 1994: Wooden ship building and the interpretation of ship wrecks. Austin, Texas.

Throckmorton, Peter (ed.) 1988: The Sea Remembers. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, New York.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
- gather and critically assess relevant information;
- be able to describe the main methods employed on underwater projects and what to do with the material recovered;
- have an overall knowledge of the importance of Marine Cultural Heritage from a long-term perspective;
- present their ideas and analyses in a coherent fashion to diverse audiences and in a number of different formats.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Jon Henderson
Course secretaryMiss Marketa Vejskalova
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