Exploring Great Lakes Shipwrecks: Interview with Keith Meverden, underwater archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Why is your diving-related research important?
Archaeology can open windows to the past that would otherwise remain shut. Shipwrecks are unique sites that contain a wealth of historical and archeological data. They not only feature a ship, a magnificent artifact, but often still hold the cargo, personal items, tools, utensils, and other telling items. Shipwrecks humanize history. In addition to the role of vessels in the nation's economy, shipwrecks acquaint us with the ordinary men and women, the builders, sailors, and longshoremen, who were the lifeblood of the shipping industry. Their stories are often missing from the written record, but archaeology gives them a voice.
Underwater archaeology enables a better understanding of maritime traditions, technology, economics, and culture. Preserved by the water on which they once served, shipwrecks provide an opportunity to take a trip back in time, when schooners and steamers ruled the Great Lakes.
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