Towards an archaeology of the sea. Making sense of the Aegean seascape in the Early Iron Age and Archaic period
In my contribution I focus on the time span between ca. 1100 and 500 BC. For the Greeks of this period land and sea formed a continuum, which alone justifies the need for an archaeology of the sea. I give archaeological and literary examples showing how land was perceived from a maritime perspective, and discuss evidence for the existence of maritime communities sharing communalities in material culture. A large part of my paper is devoted to the cultural maritime landscape of the Aegean. As a point of departure, it is acknowledged that the sea is a knowable, textured place that through senses, observations, skill and mythology can be described and mapped. I provide examples of stories and myths that give meaning to and make sense of the seascape. The spatial information stored in these narratives forms an important element of cognitive mapping that also served practical purposes when it came to spatial orientation and wayfinding across the seascape. These narratives also give useful insights into sea routes, maritime interconnections and decision making processes in seafaring.
21 Mar 2014
International conference “The Archaeology of the Sea'