The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology offers post-graduate courses in maritime archaeology and provides post-graduate supervision within the School of Archaeology and the Faculty of Classics. Undergraduates are able to take an option in Mediterranean maritime archaeology.

Graduate Teaching

Maritime Archaeology up to AD 1000

Coordinator: Dr Damian Robinson

The course examines the historical development of seafaring within the communities of the Mediterranean basin and their near neighbours. The tutorials and associated lectures will identify the main trends in the technological development of both military and merchant naval architecture both at sea and on land. They will also examine the changing attitudes of Mediterranean communities through the development of larger political units and increasing international trade and exchange. The nature of the archaeological, textual and iconographic evidence will be discussed in order to understand issues such as the lack of warships in the archaeological record and the apparent collapse of trade after the 2nd century AD as seen by the evidence of wrecked merchant ships.

Methods and Techniques in Maritime Archaeology

Coordinator: Dr Damian Robinson

The purpose of the course is to provide an up-to-date overview of the current methods and techniques in maritime archaeology and its allied sub-disciplines of maritime history and anthropology. It also highlights the importance of contemporary issues in maritime archaeology, such as the requirement for a robust legislative framework for the management and protection of submerged sites, the problems with treasure hunting and the necessity to document the fast disappearing traditional life-ways of maritime communities. There are no temporal or geographical limits upon the examples of best and worst practise that will be used in this course.

Ancient Maritime Societies

Coordinators: Dr Nicole Boivin and Dr Damian Robinson

This paper provides an overview of key theoretical and conceptual issues relevant to maritime archaeology. It explores a broad range of social, cultural, technological and environmental issues relating to human ancient coastal and island occupation and seafaring, including ethnographic aspects of maritime societies, social aspects of seafaring and voyaging, developments in maritime technology, and the ecology of island colonisation. The paper draws upon archaeological, anthropological, palaeo-environmental, documentary, and other sources of information to offer a holistic approach to maritime societies. A wide range of maritime societies and seafaring practices through time are considered, from the earliest records of coastal subsistence and movement across the sea through to maritime activities documented in textual sources.

Undergraduate teaching

Mediterranean Maritime Archaeology

Coordinator: Dr Damian Robinson

The purpose of this course is to introduce the ethical basis of underwater archaeology and the main techniques involved with the recovery of information from underwater contexts. The technical and theoretical development of underwater archaeology in the second half of the twentieth century led to a revolution in the understanding of seafaring in the ancient world. Excavation and survey work are now conducted underwater with a high degree of technical competence and maritime archaeologists have produced results that augment and indeed directly challenge the ideas and assumptions of their historical colleagues. In Michaelmas term the course examines the historical development of seafaring from its observable beginnings in traded goods, art and documentary evidence in the Mediterranean through to the post-Roman period. During Hilary term the topic is approached from a technique-specific or thematic perspective and case studies will not be strictly confined to the ancient Mediterranean, but will range in their global and temporal scope.

© 2012 School of Archaeology, University of Oxford; Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation; © Robert Hohlfelder; © Veronica Walker Vardillo