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Maritime Durées: Long-Term Structures in a Coastal Landscape

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Abstract

The interaction between humans and the maritime coastal landscape must be one of the central theoretical questions for maritime archaeology. How should an academic discipline, which is defined by its studies in a certain physical milieu, avoid the trap of environmental determinism and still be able to argue for the special influence of the maritime factor? And how should this long-term relation to the sea be interpreted and described? In this article, based mainly on material from the central Swedish Baltic Sea coast, three examples of long-term structures regarding the relationship between people and the sea are discussed. The structures, here called “maritime durees”, which almost all coastal habitants in the analyzed area seem to have had in common are linked to: exploitation of marine resources, communication over water and the mental presence of the sea. In conclusion the actual meaning of these long-term structures for everyday life and for cultural and social change are discussed in comparison to more short term structures: the changing historical circumstances and possibilities for people to choose different strategies.

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Acknowledgments

This article is based upon work done in a multidisciplinary archipelago research project at University College of Södertörn financed by the Baltic Sea foundation (Östersjöstiftelsen). For fruitful collaboration I want to thank my colleagues in the project: Kenneth Awebro, Sven Lilja (project leader), Peter Norman, Mona Pettersson and Bengt Windelhed. The work on the island of Landsort I have done together with Maria Landin, Nynäshamn and Björn Öberg, Landsort. Finally but not least, thanks also to Jon Adams, who not only corrected and edited the text but also contributed to the content through discussion.

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Rönnby, J. Maritime Durées: Long-Term Structures in a Coastal Landscape. J Mari Arch 2, 65–82 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-007-9021-7

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