On 31st March I finally submitted my thesis as cumulative dissertation, based on five published and forthcoming articles. The thesis includes also a substantial monographic part, which list of contents can be accessed here.
On 8 June Anton Englert came as guest speaker to Kiel to present a summary of his new publication “Large Cargo Ships in Danish Waters 1000-1250. Evidence of specialised merchant seafaring prior the Hanseatic Period”, published as the 7th volume of the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum’s monographic series “Ships and Boats of the North”. Since Anton also happens to be my external co-supervisor, the official part of the visit was preceded with a tour with Skíðblaðnir and coffee & cake at the Stickenhörn marina.
A full-text version of my recent publication Auf den Spuren des ältesten See-Itinerars der Ostsee: eine archäologische Zeitreise is now online! In here, a 13th-century Danish itinerary — i.e. a route description along the western coastline of the Baltic Sea — is reevaluated and quite literally revisited. It was published 2014 in a German popular scientific volume on underwater archaeology, which was sold out within only few weeks, reflecting the great public interest in this subject.
Being somewhat “unstructured” has some advantages when you are in the Humanities: You tend to be more original and uninhibited in the use of thinking tools, and you can connect dots that remain invisible to more structured thinkers. But it comes at a high price, as one could easily end up in the quicksands of time: Digression + perfectionism + procrastination is a deadly combination. Having chosen a very generic theme with case studies spread across four centuries, I inevitably got lost. But when I heard about the possibility to submit my thesis cumulatively, i.e. publication-based, this raised some new hope, as one of my strengths has been my preoccupation with writing articles, mainly for conference proceedings. These have considerably distracted me from my thesis. So I devised a new structure for a framework text, in which I could embed the singular case studies more effectively. Finally, the weird square cap with pompon is coming within tangible reach!
In September-October 2014 I successfully participated in an intensive training towards a Scientific Diver Certificate, with 35 training dives in the harbour basin of Geomar and on board of RV Littorina up to a depth of 30m. The intensive training is designated for individuals with previous diving experiences, so we were a very mixed team composed predominantly of marine biologists, one maritime archaeologist (i.e. me), and even two German Navy mine clearance divers. Our training officer was Roland Friedrich, a retired lieutenant commander, who trained many generations of scientific divers. We benefitted greatly from his extensive experience, not only in terms of the technical and safety aspects of diving, but also his leadership in forging together very diverse people within a fraction of time, which made it – as exertive as the training was – an unforgettable experience.
The DFG-funded priority programme “Harbours” ties individual research projects on harbours together, from Iceland to Greece, and from the Roman Period to the Middle Ages. It is presently one of the largest interdisciplinary projects that includes maritime archaeology. I am pleased to announce that I have become a research associate of the ‘Harbours of the North Atlantic’ subproject, to which I will contribute from a nautical archaeological perspective.
Ever wondered about the discrepancy between the popularity of evolutionary metaphors to describe the development of ancient shipbuilding on the one hand, and the almost universal reluctance to adopt models of conceptual evolution on the other hand? Well, so did I and decided to dig myself into archaeological theory.