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The development of a discipline

The history of maritime archaeology as a discipline spans a short period of just over 150 years. This is largely as a result of the remoteness of the sea bed and the challenges inherent in observing this environment. The instruments, methods and technology we use to explore the sea have developed to provide ever-increasing powers of resolution and observation.

We have categorised the timeline entries as:

  • Maritime Archaeological Discoveries
  • Protection, Conservation & Stewardship
  • Thinkers, Thoughts & Developments

Explore the timeline and consider the following questions:

  • Is there anything that you find surprising about the timeline?
  • What do you find interesting?
  • What do you think the most significant developments in the discipline of maritime archaeology have been, and when did these happen?

Is there anything that you think is missing from our timeline? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

To search the timeline, click on the spanner icon at the bottom right hand side of the screen. The timeline will open in your current browser window/tab. You may want to open it in a new window/tab, so that you can easily return to this page. (How you do this will depend on your browser and device). If you are unable to open it in a new window/tab, you will need to click the back button on your browser.


N.B. This is the first of two timelines on this course. The other timeline will introduce you to the archaeology of seafaring (going back hundreds of thousands of years). The second timeline is one that includes hundreds of entries relating to shipwrecks, which although famous may not have been significant discoveries in terms of maritime archaeology as a discipline.

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This article 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
    video

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

  • What is Maritime Archaeology?
    What is Maritime Archaeology?
    video

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

  • Experimental maritime archaeology
    Experimental maritime archaeology
    video

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

  • Medieval seafaring
    Medieval seafaring
    video

    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.
    Treasure hunting, looting, and the illicit trade in antiquities
    article

    Peter Campbell discusses the complex issues surrounding treasure hunting, looting, and the illicit trade in antiquities, in this article.