November 22, 2005
I edited an entry on...what else? Underwater Archaeology
I was fairly surprised by how poorly the maritime archaeology section was written. I didn't rewrite the whole thing(though some day I might in all my spare time)but just corrected a couple of factual errors regarding how underwater sites are different from land sites.
They only listed two, one of which was inaccurate. So I just corrected the one and because of that change added a third. There is a lot more of course that could be written but I thought this would do for now.
First they suggested that underwater sites had two "advantages" over land sites in that organic materials such as wood or leather could be better preserved. Second they said that because shipwrecks have been out of reach until relatively recently this made them time capsules.
My input was to change "advantages" to "differences" because the same process can also cause faster deterioration or organic materials. Organisms such as the toredo worm found in salt water environments quickly eat wood fibers and often result in the complete destruction of any wood exposed not buried in bottom sediments. The second change deals with the time capsule comment. Inaccessibility does not make a wreck a time capsule. It does, or did until the advent of scuba gear, help preserve wrecks from looting. I then added a third difference by describing that shipwrecks are often described as time capsules because the wrecking event is a frozen moment of time (hence a time capsule) unlike a land site which more often represents a slow accumulation of debris over a period of years.
Actually their whole breakdown of differences between Maritime, Underwater, and Nautical archaeology is a bit confused but fixing that is a much larger project. For now let me just say that maritime and nautical archaeology don't necessarily have to take place underwater while not all underwater archaeology involves shipwrecks or even maritime activities.
Creating an account was easy and clicking on the "edit this page" tab made the process pretty quick. If you want to see the changes go to this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritime_archaeology
My user name is Muak.
Posted by kknoerl at November 22, 2005 08:33 PM