When and in what circumstances did seafaring begin and how is it understood from the perspectives of maritime technology? This volume explores key themes in maritime prehistory from the perspective of seafaring, discussing the circumstances and incentives of seafaring development, its patterning in relation to periods of migration and trade and the relationship between sailing and society. The sea was dangerous and difficult to predict, but from at least the Middle Palaeolithic people sought its resources and attempted to move on its surface or beneath. The evolution of watercraft facilitated coastal foraging, fishing, hunting and travel, and the later development of sailing allowed long offshore passages, fundamental to all other sea-borne activities and interests. Increasing maritime exploration, migration, trade and colonialism together stimulated the integrating effects of globalization, describe a developing reach and complexity in human affairs that is comparable with, and in various ways holds up a mirror to, the course of terrestrial prehistory across the late Quaternary.
The history of the sea, no less than that of the land, speaks to the development of modern humanity and the discussions in Global Origins of Seafaring will make a strong contribution to the construction of a better theoretical framework for seafaring studies.
Publisher: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research