The new book Exploring the Maritime Archaeology of Ireland has just been published and is available here. This research guide is intended to provide guidance to sources of maritime archaeological information, and is a specialized addition to other historical and archaeological research guides I’ve compiled for Fingal, Sligo and Kildare.
About the book: Maritime archaeological research has developed and evolved over time, and can include the study of shipwrecks, seaborne trade, maritime maps & charts, submerged coastal sites, ancient boats & ships, pirates, buccaneers and ‘maritime cultural landscapes’ – an area first defined by Christer Westerdahl over 15 years ago. Sources for maritime archaeology are consequently spread across a wide range of disciplines including archaeology, history, ship & boat technology, ethnography, historical geography, anthropology and art historical studies. This guide is intended to guide researchers towards both traditional and new digital information resources available for the study of Ireland’s maritime heritage. The book describes key desk-based and online information resources, including historical and archaeological sources, records relating to maritime sites, monuments and artefacts, and a listing of the key libraries and repositories, accompanied with a description of their maritime archaeological holdings. ‘Exploring the maritime archaeology of Ireland’ also contains an extensive list of maps and charts of the Irish coast from the 1200 to 1900. Online resources include those provided by official institutions, research centres, and special interest groups, as well as satellite imagery, online photographic communities, and online publications. The original project was funded by The Heritage Council under the Archaeology Research Grant Scheme 2009.
As this may seem a bit of a departure from the conservation of buildings, I should explain that in my early professional career, architectural conservation work ran in conjunction with my other interest at the time, underwater archaeology. This included work on shipwrecks, harbours, bridges, and investigating sections of rivers, lakes, estuaries etc for possible archaeological remains. Thanks to the late John Ashurst, I had the opportunity to write about the assessment of vulnerability and conservation needs of submerged and inter-tidal built heritage in his Conservation of Ruins which combined the two interests. The recently published Martello Towers of Dublin project with Tim Carey, Gerry Clabby and Rob Goodbody also combined architectural and maritime heritage – so it does link together!