Ships As "Social Spaces": Analysing Shipwrecks From A Social Perspective

Author(s): Brad Loewen

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "From the Bottom Up: Socioeconomic Archaeology of the French Maritime Empire" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

When Keith Muckelroy (1978) conceptualised ships as machines, closed social spaces and extensions of land-based systems, he didn’t equip his ideas with working methods for analysing shipwrecks. Similarly, Richard Gould (2000) didn’t undergird his “social history of ships” with clear methods. Given this disconnection between concepts and methods, we should not be surprised that few archaeologists have taken up the challenge of developing a social approach to shipwreck sites. However, ships are very interesting social spaces. They are highly gendered, they shed light on a social category – which we may call a male detachment – that occurs in many societies, and their archaeological record allows a fine-grained analysis of social relations in a maritime setting. This paper will discuss some social approaches that have shown their worth in shipwreck analysis, and have potential for studying other archaeological periods and settings from a societal perspective.

Cite this Record

Ships As "Social Spaces": Analysing Shipwrecks From A Social Perspective. Brad Loewen. 2020 ( tDAR id: 456982)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -141.003; min lat: 41.684 ; max long: -52.617; max lat: 83.113 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 129