Social Archaeological Approaches in Port and Harbour Studies
2015-01-21T12:41:08Z (GMT) by
This introductory article to the special issue of the Journal of Maritime Archaeology offers a comparative perspective on the theme of archaeological theory and social archaeological approaches to ports and harbours. As a specialist in Roman archaeology I was keen to explore the way in which specialists in other areas of archaeology approached the archaeology of ports and harbours and whether different approaches and perspectives may be able to add nuances to the way in which material is interpreted. The volume brings together a collection of exciting new studies which explore social themes in port and harbour studies with the intention to encourage debate and the use of new interpretative perspectives. This article examines a number of interpretative themes including those relating to architectural analyse, human behaviour, action and experience and artefact analysis. These themes help us to move towards a more theoretically informed ports and harbour archaeology which focuses on meaning as well as description. The emphasis on theory within archaeology allows us to be more ambitious in our interpretative frameworks including in Roman archaeology which has not tended to embrace the theoretical aspects of the archaeological discipline with as much enthusiasm as some other areas of archaeology.