Marine Archaeology’s Influence on Interpretations of Early Modern Warfare, 1975–2020

Author(s): Mark Fissel

Year: 2018


Each succeeding generation of historians discovers and taps new types of evidence, prompting reconceptualization of what constitutes "history" and spawning new fields of study. Marine archaeology (and the overlapping fields of maritime archaeology and conflict archaeology) are instrumental not only in recovering new primary materials, but also in reconstructing historical interpretation and historical debates. To cite a solitary example, the teaming of marine archaeologist Colin Martin and historian Geoffrey Parker in evaluating artifacts recovered from wrecks of the Spanish Armada (1588) altered the courses of the military revolution debate and the relatively new theoretical fields of counterfactuals and virtual history (in the latter cases perhaps a fortuitous intersection of archaeology and postmodernism). This paper offers (1) a brief consideration of how marine archaeology has transformed the writing of the history of early modern warfare, and (2) a more substantial report on how marine archaeology is currently enhancing the study of early modern amphibious warfare in riverine, lacustrine, and littoral physical environments. The purpose is to spark interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary discussion of how marine archaeology is shaping the interpretation of the past in the 21st century.

Cite this Record

Marine Archaeology’s Influence on Interpretations of Early Modern Warfare, 1975–2020. Mark Fissel. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443542)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 19964