Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Research Progress Report #1: Jennifer Batryn - Shipwrecks & Maritime Malta

I will be focusing my research on shipwrecks in Malta, and more specifically the archeological significance of the shipwreck site we will be investigating on the ICEX trip. I want to understand the history behind the ship and the events leading up to its demise. What does it say about Maltese relations with other countries and the technology of the time? I also want to get an understanding of how it ties in with present day Maltese culture and the significance of it today.
So far, I have not been very successful with my research. I know from talking with Chris Clark that the shipwreck we will be investigating is at a depth of approximately 100m, which is too deep for the Iver2 to go, but given the clear water and general good visibility, we are hoping that we can still get a good look at it from above. In addition, we will have ROVs that we can potentially use to aid in the investigation. When looking up shipwrecks in Malta online, the only thing that really comes up is information about the Apostle Paul’s shipwreck on Malta from biblical times. It is believed that he ended up near Malta and there seems to be a lot of meteorological and historical data that supports Luke’s narrative. That could be an interesting component to investigate further, but it is also not really the focus of what we will be looking at in Malta in relation to the ICEX project.

I also investigated WWII shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, but that returned a rather broad set of data (not may actually being directly associated with Malta) and most of the ships had very little information about them. In addition, I tried looking up information about shipwrecks that you can dive to. These were more related to Malta, but there was only very limited information available about the ships themselves (and more about the associated dives).

I am still waiting to get the exact name of the ship we will be investigating. I think that once I have the name, it will be easier to locate some relevant information. I also plan to try expanding my search in terms of where I am looking for information. I would like to try getting a hold of our archeological contact whom we will be working with there and seeing if I can some more information from him about the shipwreck. If those approaches are still not sufficient in obtaining relevant information, I think it might be helpful to expand my area of research to also include more about shipping in general in Malta and the importance and relation of the shipping industry with other countries.

White, Jefferson. "The Apostle Paul's Shipwreck on Malta." Evidence and Paul's Journeys - History, Missionary Journeys, and Life of the Apostle Paul. 2004. Web. 23 Jan. 2011. .

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, Christina has some great questions to consider! I think that expanding your analysis to look at Malta's broader maritime history (and how that relates to technological/industrial development) would be a useful focus.

    Contemporary Malta does have a navy, but it would be interesting to look at what types of boats are featured and to what ends. How does the establishment of a navy - or of other maritime projects - relate to national identity and/or multinational interactions? Another potential topic (although perhaps this should be directed Jeff, as he is focusing on contemporary controversies) is the use of the Maltese navy to challenge Greenpeace activists.

    It also might be interesting to analyze the way in which Malta tells the story of its maritime history at the Malta Maritime Museum: http://www.heritagemalta.org/museums/maritime/maritimeinfo.html - how are scientific and/or technical development featured? How did the geography and location impact maritime development? Was maritime development predominantly shaped by war or trade?

    It may also be interesting to cover contemporary maritime policy and planning: http://www.dca.gov.mt/Home.aspx?lid=1&sec=1 - what is the connection between contemporary and historical developments?

    This book - http://www.amazon.com/Eight-Thousand-Maltese-Maritime-History/dp/0813031796 - I believe, looks at the impact of the conceptualization of Malta as a "site of strategic importance" - what are the connections and differences between historic and contemporary understandings of Malta as small but central?

    You also might contact Timmy (the Maltese archaeologist) directly for more information, and/or try to find his previous publications and provide us with a literature review of his general research program.


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