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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsDR JULIAN WHITEWRIGHT: Maritime archaeology is an incredibly broad and diverse subject and doing maritime archaeology encompasses an equally broad and diverse range of methods and techniques. To help you understand some of these methods and techniques, we've asked some of our students, some of our colleagues, to tell us how they do maritime archaeology.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 secondsSPEAKER 1: Depending on your own skills and qualification, you can do maritime archaeology under water but we also have loads of maritime archaeologists that have never set a foot under water.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 secondsSPEAKER 2: There's a great deal of theoretical input that you can use so desk based work is really important.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsSPEAKER 3: We often think of divers working on a shipwreck but maritime archaeology uses a wide range of methods; everything from measuring tapes to 3D modelling, from dendrochronology to mass spectrometry. When you have the potential to find a cannon one day and an intact human brain the next, you have to apply all the possible methods available in science.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsSPEAKER 4: So you do research, you read a lot, you get in touch with the artefact and with your material culture and interact with it.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 secondsSPEAKER 5: A lot of what we do is very similar to what we do on terrestrial sites but there are some big differences,

Skip to 1 minute and 19 secondsfor example, the way that we remove sediment from the site: On terrestrial sites, you can simply do this with a trowel and a bucket and a wheelbarrow but underwater those things are not that evident and we use something called an airlift, which is basically a vacuum cleaner for underwater, which sucks up the sediment and transports it to somewhere else where it's out of our way.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 secondsSPEAKER 6: We use computer programmes, such as geographical information systems, also known as GIS, as well as a lot of geophysical surveys to study these larger coastal landscapes.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 secondsSPEAKER 7: One of the main reasons that got me into maritime archaeology is that the practice of it largely involves underwater research excavation. Scuba diving is definitely a big part of the practice of maritime archaeology, as is shipbuilding, which is what we're doing here today. And that's kind of the aspect of it that I liked was the adventure of it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsDR JULIAN WHITEWRIGHT: So we've explained to you how we do maritime archaeology here at the University of Southampton but it's not just about us doing maritime archaeology. We would like you to be able to do maritime archaeology, as well, so please see the list of links for how you can get involved in maritime archaeology wherever you are in the world.

How do you do Maritime Archaeology?

In this video, students and staff from University of Southampton explain how they do maritime archaeology.

The list of links that Julian refers to is in 4.24 Farewell from the educators. It includes links to further sources of information and opportunities to volunteer.

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This video is from the free online course:

Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds: Maritime Archaeology

University of Southampton

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Welcome to Week 1
    Welcome to Week 1
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    Welcome to Week 1 of Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds: Maritime Archaeology with Dr Julian Whitewright, University of Southampton.

  • What is Maritime Archaeology?
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    Vox pops with staff and students from University of Southampton: What is maritime archaeology? Learners are invited to share their thoughts.

  • Screenshot of the timeline
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    An interactive timeline that charts the development of maritime archaeology as a discipline. Contributions from worldwide learners are welcome.

  • Experimental maritime archaeology
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    Why build a replica? Watch Professor Jon Adams explore experimental maritime archaeology on location at Buckler's Hard.

  • Medieval seafaring
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    In this video, Professor Jon Adams explains the techniques by which shipwrights have converted trees into boats suitable for sailing the world.

  • An operating table with bottles and other items on it, underwater.
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    Peter Campbell discusses the complex issues surrounding treasure hunting, looting, and the illicit trade in antiquities, in this article.