Underwater Archaeology of the World Wars

Robert S. Neyland

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Underwater Archaeology of the World Wars

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  • Archaeology
  • Underwater Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology



This article describes shipwrecks from the World Wars. For marine archaeology, there are numerous archaeological sites to dive on, research, and analyze. World War II in Europe resulted in staggering losses of shipping and lives. There were changes in naval warfare that resulted from the technological development of weapons capable of sinking ships. This article highlights archaeological research on world war shipwrecks, which focuses on identifying the locations of wrecks and the causes of sinking. The U.S. Navy's wrecks are distributed in every major body of water and represent many questions formulated in World War archaeology. Furthermore, this article highlights the fact that the shipwrecks of the World Wars pose environmental concerns. Shipwreck finds from the World Wars will undoubtedly continue until all the larger ships and notable aircraft have been found, for such is the fascination with discovery and the history of the lost ships and aircraft of those conflicts.

Keywords: merchant marine losses; naval warfare; archaeological research; World War archaeology; heritage preservation; World War wrecks

Article.  9300 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Underwater Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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