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Trade Goods and Cultural Artifacts: The Odyssey Model

Author(s): Ellen Celine Gerth

Year: 2013

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Enormous costs are involved in conducting deep-sea archaeological fieldwork, proper conservation, research and curation of recovered artifacts, followed by publication of the results. With governments facing a dire economic outlook, where will the funding come from to excavate shipwreck sites before they are destroyed by natural and manmade forces?


To help finance projects, Odyssey proposes a model whereby science and commerce are compatible, with the goal of preserving underwater cultural heritage. Culturally significant artifacts are retained in a ‘Permanent Collection’, irrespective of monetary or aesthetic value, while trade goods—mass-produced, duplicate artifacts—can be made available to private collectors, only after thorough conservation, documentation and study. Of these, representative examples are retained in the ‘Permanent Collection’ and are accessible for exhibit and further research.


Viable models for funding shipwreck exploration include developing workable partnerships between both the commercial and public sectors—a united approach to saving our threatened cultural heritage.





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Trade Goods and Cultural Artifacts: The Odyssey Model. Ellen Celine Gerth. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428543)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 635

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America