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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsDR JULIAN WHITEWRIGHT: Hello and thanks for signing up to Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds Maritime Archaeology. And welcome to week one of the course. During this week, we will introduce you to the people, the educators, who are delivering the course and also tell you about the resources and ways of studying that you will need to know about to complete the course. After this, we will begin to think about maritime archaeology as a discipline - how it has developed, the history of the discipline and some of the key questions that we try to answer through maritime archaeology. We will start to think about some of the boat and ship types and different chronologies.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 seconds So throughout this week, if you have any questions about any of the things we are telling you or anything you wish to know more about, please use the Comment section within the course. We really hope you enjoy week one.

Welcome to Week 1

In this video Dr Julian Whitewright welcomes you to Week 1 of Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds and highlights some of the topics that will be covered this week.

Week 1 begins by introducing you to what maritime archaeology is and how it fits within the overall discipline of archaeology. This will be done through looking at the history of maritime archaeology, from its origins to the present day and finding out what some of the students and staff at the University of Southampton think maritime archaeology is.

To understand maritime archaeology further we will explore some of the different environments in which maritime archaeological sites are found, address how we think about the different scales and periods of time that those sites are from, and investigate some of the types of watercraft that you will learn about during the course.

Finally, we will ask you to tell us what you think about maritime archaeology and to add to our interactive timeline charting the history of our subject, if you think there is anything missing.

By the end of this week you will be able to:

  • Outline how Maritime Archaeology has developed as a distinctive area within the wider discipline of Archaeology.
  • Identify the different environments in which maritime archaeological work can take place.
  • Recognise some of the different types of ships and boats, and their different parts and pieces, that you will encounter during the rest of the course.
  • Explain what maritime archaeology is to your friends and family.

This week contains lots of important and useful information about maritime archaeology that will help you to really understand and enjoy the rest of the course!

We invite you to engage with the team on FutureLearn, on Twitter (#FLShipwrecks) and on our blog.


Some of you may be interested in where we have filmed Julian. Integrite is a reconstruction of a French admiral’s personal boat (a gig) from 1796, when the original gig was captured during the French invasion of Bantry Bay, Ireland. (Gigs were used to take people ashore or to other boats). The gig is owned by a charity called Atlantic Challenge Great Britain, part of a wider global organisation of fifteen nations called Atlantic Challenge International, that has the aim of educating young people through the challenge of the sea, and to preserve traditional skills in sailing, rowing and seamanship. Integrite can be rowed or sailed and has ten oars and three masts. She is currently based in Lyme Regis on the south coast of England.

In the modern world, a large gig like Integrite might take a couple of years to build. But that might only be a single boatbuilder doing such work as their only job. A team of builders could build a vessel like that, which is actually quite small, much faster, maybe in a matter of weeks. Integrite was built by a master builder called John Kerr in about 18 months back in 1991/92.

We have really good records of how long wooden ships took to build from the naval ships in the late 18th and early 19th century. And there is a lot of variability. One shipyard could build a large frigate in 12 months, while another yard took 2 or 3 years.

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:

  • 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.

  • Screenshot of the timeline
    The development of a discipline
    article

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

  • 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.