Conclusions: A Living Tradition

David J. Stewart

in The Sea Their Graves

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037349
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041575 | DOI:
Conclusions: A Living Tradition

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  • History and Theory of Archaeology


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English and American maritime memorialization is a living tradition, and many of the motifs that first appeared during the Age of Sail are still used on sailors' monuments today. The struggle of humans against nature is still represented on modern monuments, although not to as great a degree as in previous centuries. This is probably because improvements in vessel safety, navigation, and weather forecasting make the natural world less a threat than in previous eras. The humans vs. nature theme remains common in popular culture, however. Stories of accidents are also common on maritime memorials, as ships remain a dangerous workplace. The problem of missing bodies remains an endemic part of maritime life, and this theme continues to figure prominently on modern memorials. Likewise, religious themes and imagery remain common, especially on modern American maritime memorials. New venues for maritime memorialization, including spontaneous shrines and cybershrines, represent new ways by which sailors are memorialized in the modern world. These new forms of commemoration highlight the fact that maritime memorialization is dynamic and will continue to evolve along with the mortuary practices of its parent cultures.

Keywords: cybershrine; humans; nature; popular culture; spontaneous shrine

Chapter.  6533 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History and Theory of Archaeology

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