Ships, history, politics and archaeology : A critical look at the research History of ship archaeology in Germany
Author(s): Mike Belasus
During the period at the end of the 19th and early 20th century German historians saw their duty among others in the education of the people of the young nation towards a national identity. The Hanseatic League was seen as a predecessor of the German Empire and the cargo ship of the German merchants, which was then identified to be the ‘Cog’ became its symbol. The need to visualize this vessel gave reason for the attempt of a technical definition which could serve the national idea.When the historians Walter Vogel and Bernhard Hagedorn wrote down the first attempt of a technical definition of ship types mentioned in historical sources in the dawn of WW1 they set the starting point for what later became historical ship archaeology in Germany even though they doubted its possibility.After the wars their attempt was picked up again without any doubts on its possibility and reflection of its origin.Detlef Ellmers even declared the main goal of ship archaeology in the identification of ship types mentioned in the historical documents.This paper takes a critical look on the research history of historical ship archaeology in Germany and its possible influence on recent ship archaeology.
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Ships, history, politics and archaeology : A critical look at the research History of ship archaeology in Germany. Mike Belasus. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436968)
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