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Learn About Underwater Archaeology

Archaeology is defined as the scientific study of human culture through the investigation and interpretation of artifacts and other cultural remains. These "artifacts" and "cultural remains" may be as large as a complete sawmill or ship, or as small and personal as clothing, eating utensils, and other everyday items. As a sub-discipline of archaeology, underwater archaeology simply defines a specialized environment in which archaeological research may be carried out.

Underwater archaeologists in Wisconsin study a wide spectrum of submerged cultural remains. These sites have included a 1,800 year-old dugout canoe, an inundated 18th century fur trading site, and 19th and 20th century shipwrecks. Although the study of shipwrecks is only one component of underwater archaeology, it is perhaps the most well-known. The study of shipwrecks and their associated artifacts is known as nautical archaeology.


 

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