Considering Seascapes, Waterscapes and the Relational

Author(s): Courtney Nimura; Liam Brady; Joakim Goldhahn

Year: 2018


This paper introduces some key themes for this session, and considers how seascapes and waterscapes relate to the many and varied people, things, and places with which humans live. While many aspects of the archaeological record can be interpreted as referencing the watery realm through association (e.g. shell middens) or visual cues (e.g. rock art), our goal with this session is not to focus on simply identifying these connections, but to interrogate the nature of these relationships – to consider how water acts as a relational presence, and one that is informed by epistemologies and ontologies. Writing in the context of maritime people in Australia, McNiven (2008, 149) identifies a ‘relational nexus between people, spirits, and the sea’ – a useful observation that orients our thinking about the various elements that can be used to explore the water/people relationship. We will introduce some of our thoughts on the complex relational aspects between people, things, and water as a way of better understanding the social/cultural networks in which they are embedded, and the myriad ways people construct, maintain and express their identity. We draw on archaeological, ethnographic and historical resources to introduce the relational through the lens of the watery realm.

Cite this Record

Considering Seascapes, Waterscapes and the Relational. Courtney Nimura, Liam Brady, Joakim Goldhahn. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444156)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20775