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Sealing, Whaling and Maritime Industries

Chapter
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA)

Abstract

The sea was a means of transport for colonial Australians but it also held valuable resources. Although wool and gold were Australia’s best-known exports during the nineteenth century, sealing and whaling played a vital and much earlier role in the development of colonial industry and commercial activity. Before the resources of the inland were well known, people still looked to the sea for the riches they could draw from it. In an era before petroleum oils, the oil rendered from seal and whale blubber was used extensively for industrial lubrication, as lighting fuel and in the manufacture of paints and soap. Later in the nineteenth century the lucrative fish-curing operations run by Chinese businessmen on the eastern seaboard supported many coastal fishing communities, while pearling developed as an important industry on the remote northern coast of Western Australia. Study of the material remains of these industries has been an important area of collaboration between terrestrial and maritime archaeologists. The survey and excavation of coastal sites has been accompanied by the study of associated wreck sites, and this has led to approaches focusing on the social and economic networks that crossed colonial boundaries. Researchers have also identified distinctive maritime cultural landscapes in coastal regions where overlapping networks of activities and associations meld the sea and the land into a single unified horizon.

Keywords

Archaeological Evidence Sperm Whale Elephant Seal Archaeological Remains Archaeological Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeology ProgramLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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