Archeology: Our Own Time Machine Essay

Archeology: Our Own Time Machine Essay

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Archaeology is the closest thing we have to a time machine. It is the only way we can know the unrecorded, and sometimes even the recorded, past. History may be written by the victorious, but archaeology is about the common people. There are archaeological sites ranging in age from thousands-of-years-old prehistoric habitations, to the Egyptian pyramids, to World War II military bases. As a means of obtaining knowledge about our collective past, archaeology has been unsurpassed. It is the literal and figurative digging up of the forgotten past.
However, a great portion of our history has been lost to us because it lies beneath the vast depths of the ocean. Shipwrecks are the records of "moments in time" and often contain much information about people and life onboard. They encapsulate bits of history. Shipwrecks, however, are a non-renewable resource and once they are disturbed or destroyed they are gone forever. Therefore great care has to be taken to preserve these time capsules of the deep.
Up until recently, the technology has not existed to properly do so. Today archaeologists are fighting back the waters by developing modern technology that allows them to analyze wrecks with much more accuracy. These advances have, in instances, provided new information that has changed our view of history and showcases the importance of archaeology for better understanding our past.
A great example of this is the Swedish ship, Vasa. The Vasa ship is a very well preserved 17th century warship. For the most part, it is made from Oak. In 1628, on its first outing, the Vasa sank in Stockholm’s center. It remained there until 1956 (Ljungdahl and Berglund 279).
The ship was loaded with 60 bronze guns on two complete gun decks. It was the K...


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...onal Law Journal 17.3 (1993): 667-725.
Green, Jeremy. Maritime Archaeology: a Techinical Handbook. Academic Press Ltd., 1990.
Lee, Jane J. "5 Shipwrecks Lost to Time That Archaeologists Would Love to Get Their Hands On." 24 March 2014. National Geographic.com. 3 May 2014. .
Lewis, Tanya. "Gorgeous Decay: The Second Death of the Swedish Warship Vasa." 12 September 2012. Wired.com. 3 May 2014. .
Ljungdahl, Jonas and Lars A. Berglund. "Transverse mechanical behaviour and moisture absorption of waterlogged archaeological wood from the Vasa ship." Holzforschung 61 (2007): 279-284.
Singh, Hanumant, et al. "Imaging Underwater for Archaeology." Journal of Field Archaeology 27.3 (2000): 319-328.


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