Book Review-‘Sveti Pavao Shipwreck: A 16th century Venetian merchantman from Mljet, Croatia’ by C. Betrame, S. Gelichi and I. Miholjek

By Julian Whitewright, published November 2020


When studying the Mediterranean world of antiquity, we are constantly reminded of the profound impact that archaeological evidence from shipwrecks has had on our understanding of the myriad interconnections of the cultures and societies ranged around its shores at different times. By contrast, the maritime elements of the medieval and early post-medieval Mediterranean are relatively poorly represented in the maritime archaeological record. Although contemporary historical sources are more numerous, the reduced archaeological signature dictates that we lack some of the fine-grained view of the material that was actually there on a given day in history.

This paucity in the archaeological evidence is perhaps even more telling in areas where high levels of maritime commerce existed in the past, undertaken by well-known protagonists. One such shipping lane is the Adriatic, leading to the great trading centre of Venice. Despite this, this stretch of water has produced only a modest number of shipwrecks from the early post-medieval period, and only a handful of possible Venetian origin. This, and the fascination that Venice and its maritime past continue to hold, make the volume under review here of particular interest. Its purpose is to provide early publication of the discovery, survey and excavation of a Venetian shipwreck dating to the second half of the sixteenth century, lost on the island of Mljet, Croatia…

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Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology

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