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Maritime archaeology – the scientific investigation of the relics of past ships and seafaring – has come into being as a distinctive sub-discipline of archaeology only since the wartime invention of the aqualung. It is now time to take stock of what has been, and can be, achieved and to indicate ways forward for the future. In this book Keith Muckleroy sets out to define maritime archaeology, highlighting, on the one hand, factors that are unique to working under water and, on the other, problems of interpretation and method that are shared with its parent discipline archaeology. If responsible research is to replace the treasure-hunting and sensationalism of recent decades, it is vital that its aims and objectives should be well defined, and that they should be fully integrated into the planning of underwater investigations. This is made even more urgent by the inevitable expense and difficulty of fieldwork. Although this is not intended to be a comprehensive practical manual, theoretical discussion is firmly rooted throughout in the author’s own experience as a diving archaeologist. Many of the numerous photographs with which the book is illustrated come from sites investigated by himself and his colleagues, giving the account an immediacy which will appeal both to divers and non-divers, to archaeologists of all types, and to anyone interested in our maritime past.
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