Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds is a free four week online course offered in conjunction with FutureLearn. It  gives you a unique opportunity  to gain an insight into the fascinating world of maritime archaeology, in an open access and engaging format.

So far the course has run three times:

  • October 2014
  • May 2015
  • February 2016

You can register your interest in a fourth run of the course. It will start on 30th January 2017.

Drawing on the expertise of the staff and students of the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, participants will be guided through humanity’s changing relationship with the world’s oceans and seas over the last 2.5 million years.

We will discuss the impact of changing sea-levels on the geography of our planet and the legacy they may have left behind in myths and legends of Atlantis and Lyonesse; the development of seafaring technologies; and the emergence of globalised economies. We will explore the traditions of seafaring that gave birth to such diverse historical and social phenomena as Polynesian exploration and colonisation, Viking age expansion, the ‘Golden Age of Sail’ and piracy. We will examine the transformative impact that levels of preservation found on wrecks such as the Mary Rose and Vasa have had on our understanding of past societies, through to what can be learned from more modern maritime sites such as the Titanic. The science and technology behind data collection will be explained, from diver based research to cutting edge remote sensing techniques. We’ll also consider the key questions and that continue to challenge researchers today and shape the future direction of the discipline.

Importantly, this course has been designed to allow significant participant interaction, through group discussion and online tasks. In this way we hope not only to teach, but to engage course members with the rewards that archaeological research has to offer. We hope that the comments people make and the ideas they have, will stimulate us all to think about the subject in new and different ways. It is this crowdsourcing of ideas that particularly excites us about providing the course. It offers us a chance to engage with a much wider audience than we normally do, to learn about people’s different ideas and generate new insights into how we might interpret the past.

Whether you are a student wanting a taster of our archaeology degrees or a lifelong learner with a passion for our oceans, we’ll introduce this exciting discipline to you in an accessible way. The course is suitable for anyone and there is no need for any previous experience.

You can keep up to date with what’s happening on the course (and our research more broadly) via our blog (http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/shipwrecks) and on our Twitter account @UoSShipwrecks with the hashtag #FLShipwrecks