This theme has avoided becoming a handbook to marine and maritime working practices, but the broader area of methods and practices should be considered in all future research, as the methodological approaches taken define the end results. Metadata of this kind, in the form of detailed project method statements are a vital source for current and future researchers in order that they can assess datasets and understand the context by which the conclusions were derived.
Addressing the challenges and considering future directions will allow a holistic treatment of the rich legacy that the marine and maritime historic environment provides. A number of strategic recommendations are proposed:
- To raise the international profile of Scottish Maritime Heritage. Research into aspects of Scotland’s marine and maritime heritage should be considered in terms of local, regional, national and international contexts. International synthesis should be encouraged in order to highlight the contribution that the Scottish evidence provides to broader understandings of marine and maritime landscapes.
- To broaden the basis of data retrieval to include every available and relevant source, technique and academic discipline. Due to the pervasive nature of the Marine and Maritime historic landscape, a holistic approach must be more fully adopted that incorporates evidence from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to: commercial and research archaeology; off-shore development; local and national societies; techniques including photography and geophysics; and disciplines including history; ethnology; cultural studies; folklore; and architecture.
- To explore collaboration beyond archaeology in order to ensure the capacity to meet research challenges while providing the experience and perspective to ensure research of the highest quality.
- To create a Research Focus that incorporates the complexity of the record and allow full and rich explorations of the past. By considering the areas of research highlighted throughout this document, and by addressing the challenges through collaboration, holistic ‘Source to Sea’ projects will provide a focus for research.
- To strengthen and broaden the marine and maritime research knowledge-base, which is created, maintained and promoted by and in partnership with regional and historic environment records organisations.