Ships on Land

James P. Delgado

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Ships on Land


In the twenty-first century, archaeologists are seeing an increased number of “buried ships” that provide unique opportunities in nautical archaeology. More holistic view of maritime sites on land provides opportunities to assess the growth and decline of ports, port-related infrastructure and technology, and maritime cultural landscapes in port sites that are now land-filled. The buried sites can be deliberately interred as ship burials, or represented by beached shipwrecks or sites where marshes, sea-level change, river channel shifts, siltation, or deliberate land-filling or drainage have buried ships. This article gives an overview of buried ships from antiquity to the late Roman period, from the Byzantine period, from the medieval period to the sixteenth century ce, and from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries ce. While underwater excavation continues to provide access to shipwrecked cargoes within the context of the vessel itself, excavations on land offer the same potential, as a number of the polders wrecks also contain cargoes.

Keywords: buried ships; buried sites; nautical archaeology; underwater excavation; land excavations; shipwrecks

Article.  9483 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Industrial Archaeology

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