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On the Interpretation of Watercraft in Ancient Art

1
Nautical Archaeology Program, Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4352, USA
2
Institute of Nautical Archaeology, PO Drawer HG, College Station, TX 77841-5137, USA
Arts 2019, 8(4), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040165
Received: 21 August 2019 / Revised: 4 November 2019 / Accepted: 12 November 2019 / Published: 11 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Visual Arts)
In the past six decades since its inception, nautical archaeologists have excavated and studied the hulls, cargoes, and other remains of ancient watercraft. However, shipwrecks themselves only tell part of the story. The archaeological record is replete with examples of known shipwrecks from some cultures and periods, but, for others, no hulls exist in the known archaeological record. Vagaries of preservation generally prevent the upper parts and rigging of a vessel to survive in all but the most remarkable of cases. This paper reviews the role of iconographic representations in understanding ancient vessels and seafaring by presenting the issues, examining the limitations, proposing interpretative methods for, and finally by supplying specific examples of, ancient nautical depictions. View Full-Text
Keywords: art history; Egyptian art; graffiti; Minoan art; Mycenaean art; nautical archaeology; ship iconography art history; Egyptian art; graffiti; Minoan art; Mycenaean art; nautical archaeology; ship iconography
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Wachsmann, S. On the Interpretation of Watercraft in Ancient Art. Arts 2019, 8, 165.

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