Julian Whitewright – a short biography

Julian WhitewrightHello, I am Julian Whitewright and I am one of the educators on the Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds course. I work as a maritime archaeologist at the University of Southampton and the Maritime Archaeology Trust (www.maritimearchaeologytrust.org). The areas of maritime archaeology that I am interested in really revolve around boats and ships, and especially the different ways that they were built and used; both now and in the past.

I am really lucky in that my two jobs allow me to approach this from two very different perspectives. At the University I work on researching the seafaring of the ancient Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, with a particular emphasis on sailing rigs and the performance of ancient vessels while under sail. I have been lucky enough to work on University projects in Egypt and Eritrea that have been concerned with the survey and excavation of ancient port sites and the remains of watercraft that they contain.

Outside of the University, my work for the Trust is concerned with understanding wooden ships from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This work mainly focusses on British-built ships that have been wrecked and re-discovered in the waters around the Solent area of the south-coast of England. The vessels I work on range from small coastal trading ships, to large warships and global sailing ships allowing a real appreciation of the range of ship-types in use in the past and how they relate to each other and wider themes of technological development. Increasingly, my work at the Trust is concerned with managing shipwrecks and ensuring that the archaeological sites, the material and the information we get from them is properly curated, archived and disseminated.

The varied nature of my work is reflected in my teaching at the University where the content of our MA/MSc in Maritime Archaeology is driven by the research that I and my colleagues undertake. A final important element in this is my own love of sailing and rowing boats, this allows us to really understand vessels from a first-hand point of view, rather than just from an arm-chair. Being able to get out on the water in traditional vessels and understand how to use them is a very important way of increasing our understanding of the archaeological record.

I am really excited about being able to combine these different elements of work within the Shipwrecks course and I am really looking forward to sharing and discussing this work with everyone taking part in the course. In the meantime you can find more about me and my work at: http://about.me/julian_whitewright

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