Much more than "Wreck Detectives"!
To many people the term Maritime Archaeology is synonymous with “Wreck Detectives” on the Discovery Channel, where historians and commercial divers investigate shipwrecks in order to find out why the ship has sunk, what cargo it carried, etc. Maritime Archaeology is however a much wider discipline. Any student of Maritime Archaeology in Esbjerg will quickly acknowledge this, as the subject moves from the fishing gear of the Stone Age to the shipbuilding techniques of the Middle Ages and much further.
The course in Maritime Archaeology is only one year old. We are only very few students so far, which gives a very close relationship with the lecturers. The lectures and discussions in class are very informal and full of humour. As we are also the first students on the course our opinion on how things are done is valued and listened to.
A wide range of bachelor degrees are accepted for admission to study Maritime Archaeology in Esbjerg (for example archaeology, history, geography and so on). This variety of educational backgrounds gives an interesting difference in approaches to specific problems and is very inspiring for discussions of issues in class.
In order to completely understand many of the issues of the curriculum we have been on several excursions to both museums and excavations in Denmark and Germany. In the semester to come we will also do several weeks of fieldwork to gain the practical understanding and experience that cannot be learned from books. So far field work in Greece, England and Denmark has been planned for the coming semester. A student of Maritime Archaeology must therefore accept being away from home for some periods of time during the study.
Lectures, discussions, literature, assignments, reports and exams are all in English. This can be a challenge to some at first, but it quickly gets easier and should therefore not scare potential students from applying.
The number of lectures each week is not very high and the study therefore demands great self discipline of the student as there are many pages to be studied in each course.
If you are on the look out to study something which is both theoretical and practical, then Maritime Archaeology may be the branch for you. It is a great combination of exact knowledge of materials and techniques, thoughtfulness/reflection on theoretical archaeological issues and practical dirty work.
|| Christine Husum|
geologist and student of Maritime Archaeology