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Part of Nåttarövraket. Photo: Mikael Fredholm, SMTM

What a maritime archaeologist does

A maritime archaeologist examines objects and other traces that humans have left behind, which are found in or near water. This can be anything from settlements, defence facilities and piers to submarines and aircraft – and shipwrecks.

Maritime archaeologists don’t just work out on the high seas. You can often find them at work wherever new harbours, bridges or seaside structures are being built.

Their work can consist of a variety of tasks: searching, diving, documenting, analysing and investigating. It’s usually a team effort because specialists are needed in the different areas. Their findings are often documented using technical equipment.

New knowledge about the bigger picture

Older literature and maps complement investigations and excavations. The natural sciences, art and cultural history all come very much in handy when interpreting finds.

The pieces of the puzzle these archaeologists manage to put together give us new knowledge about the objects themselves, but also about their wider context and how people lived and travelled far back in history.

Page last updated: 2021-06-24