Underwater Archaeology, European versus American

  • Joel L. Shiner
Part of the The Springer Series in Underwater Archaeology book series (SSUA)


There do exist some differences between the general methods and techniques of marine archaeology as practiced in Europe and the United States. I am more familiar with the current scene in Britain and the Republic of Ireland, so I will use that area as a point of departure. The apparent, but not terribly important, preference for the use of metal detectors instead of magnetometers, of solo divers instead of the buddy system are well known. It would serve nothing to pursue these trivia. My own impression is that there are three important differences that merit some discussion in depth. It is obvious that Americans manage to acquire and use more and better equipment. On the other hand, the British have the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich with its models, documents, paintings, and relics. Nothing in the New World can touch it. The British also have the Sub-Aqua Club(s) which have no counterpart here. Our organizations such as NAUI, PADI, and YMCA stress, in addition to safe diving, some concern for clean water, coral, and fish. As regards our cultural heritage in wrecks or submerged sites there is a profound ignorance at all levels and ranks. The British have a strong tendency toward scholarly research on the part of amateur scientists, and a reverent respect for the past. American amateurs, generally, are interested in hobbies.


Crew Member Maritime Archaeology Buddy System Treasure Hunter Current Scene 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

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  • Joel L. Shiner

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