Maritime and Coastal Archaeology

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The dramatic emergence of the Mary Rose from the bottom of the sea off Portsmouth in 1982 inspired many an archaeologist to enroll in diving lessons (see CA 218). However, maritime archaeologists also study submerged cultural environments and coastal settlements, as well as ships, ports and harbours, to set them within the relevant socio-political context. Despite potentially hazardous working conditions, the same rigorous surveyand recording techniques are expected as for any land excavation. Artefacts and structures are often well preserved due towater-logging and the subsequent lack of oxygen, which inhibits the bacteria that causes deterioration; but specialist handling is required during the recovery and conserving process.

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