Summary and Outlook

At the moment, undersea archeological research is oriented toward two general themes: the classification of maritime trade, and naval archeology.

Attic black figure bowl decorated by Nicosthenes
Ship, 520-510 BC

Classification of maritime trade
Theme-wise, research is conducted both on the great trade routes and the redistribution business; trade in metals and construction materials enjoys an important status. Chronologically, finds from antiquity, between the sixth century BC and the seventh century AD, are particularly frequent.

Today, research is aimed at the least-studied periods (High Antiquity, Late Roman Empire, High Middle Ages, Modern Period), as well as the types of commerce that are least known.

Fragments of a krater:
Attic-Late Geometric boat, circa 760-750 BC

Roman mosaic, Constantine,
III century AD
Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite.
Detail: Pleasure of fishing

Naval Archeology
This program aims to study boats as intact units, guided by three aspects:
  • the boat as a mechanism that reflects the technical development of a society
  • the boat as instrument adopted for a specific function and for particular needs (trade, war, fishing)
  • the boat as living and working space (study of personal effects of the crew and passengers, on-board materials, and working tools)

Antiquity, most notably the Roman period from the last centuries of the Republic until the end of the Empire, remains the most exhaustively studied era. The principal reason for this is the great number of finds from that period.

Louvre Museum, Greek and Roman Antiquities, © Photo RMN