Slave Ships and Maritime Archaeology: An Overview

  • Jane WebsterEmail author


This contribution collates information about wrecked slaving vessels discovered or sought by maritime archaeologists since 1972. To date, only a handful of firmly identified, active slave ships have been subject to excavation, but additional work has been carried out on wrecks of former slaver ships and possible slavers. The impending 200th anniversaries of the abolition of the British and US slave trades (2007 and 2008, respectively) appear to have stimulated a new wave of interest in slaver wrecks, and these new initiatives are also discussed.


Slave ships Excavation Wrecks 



Greg Cook and Jaco Boshoff kindly shared information about their ongoing field projects, and Ken Kinkor (Project Research, Whydah Museum) generously gave me access to the unpublished source material he has collated on the Whydah. I am greatly indebted to Tanja Røskar Reed (Conservator at the Aust-Agder Kulturhistoriske Senter, Arendal) for providing me with a copy of the Fredensborg inventory in advance of its publication online, and for sharing information about the Fredensborg finds. Enquiries about the Fredensborg inventory should be directed to Tanja at I am equally indebted to Staffan von Arbin (Archaeologist, Bohuslän County Museum, Sweden) for answering my queries about the Havmanden. David Moore commented extensively on an earlier draft of this paper, and suggested numerous improvements to the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Historical StudiesNewcastle UniversityNewcastleUK

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