Models, Replicas and Experiments in Nautical Archaeology

By Sean McGrail, published February 1975


Experimental archaeology, or the construction and testing of ‘material hardware analogues’, can increase our knowledge of past technologies and economies, and thus it is a valid and valuable archaeological technique. Yet thorough scientific planning is needed if worth-while results are to be obtained from any form of experimental archaeology. Valid conclusions can only be drawn if the experiment is based on rigorous theory and if full consideration is given to all the variables. This paper puts forward principles which, it is argued, are applicable to experimental nautical archaeology. Their use should ensure more ‘value for money’ in this often expensive work.

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Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

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