1.2 From Source to Sea: the scope and remit of the Marine and Maritime Panel

This contiguity of archaeological relationships from the palaeo-seabed to upland rivers led the panel to term its remit ‘From Source to Sea’, encapsulating the interrelationship of all aspects of human activity that ultimately link archaeological sites to the maritime zone. This wide-ranging definition of the marine and maritime resource requires a holistic approach: the panel addressed the subject in thematic terms, but these themes ranged in type and definition, some geographical (e.g. Coastal Hinterlands, Inland Waters), some site-specific (Ships and Vessels) and some methodological (Submerged Landscapes). This diversity is both a reflection of the difficulties of setting remit boundaries discussed below, but also a reflection of the diversity of approaches taken to the archaeology of the marine and maritime environment.

The first task facing each of the ScARF thematic panels is also the largest and most problematic: that of defining the scope of the remit of the panel. In the case of the Marine and Maritime panel, this task was particularly difficult: arguably, with such a high ratio of coastline to land area and with nowhere further than around 80 km from the sea, all of Scotland can be considered maritime. Unlike other panels, the scope of the Marine and Maritime panel was not restricted to any particular chronological range, nor to any geographical region. In defining the remit, the panel necessarily took an inclusive approach to the maritime resource, so that shipwrecks form only one element of the material record of people’s interaction with the sea and the coastal zone. All aspects of past human activity whether directly related to the exploitation of the marine environment, or simply located in a maritime setting, were considered to be under the panel’s jurisdiction. Such a view leads archaeology of all types to be relevant to this research framework and therefore this document is cross-cutting and inter-leaves with the other ScARF panel research documents. Settlement sites of the earliest hunter-gatherers, prehistoric inundated landscapes, medieval fortifications, historic shipwrecks, fish-traps, modern harbours and vessels still afloat, are all considered part of our surviving maritime heritage. Furthermore, the direct linkage of inland waterways to the coast as ‘arteries’ of communication, trade and transport, means that the archaeology and history of Scotland’s extensive lochs, rivers and canals cannot be excluded – hence the introduction of the  ‘source to sea’ approach.

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