The Multispecies Shipwreck: A more-than-human approach to thinking with shipwrecks

Dr Natali Pearson
Event date
Event time
16:00 - 17:00
Institute of Archaeology
36 Beaumont St
Venue details

Lecture Room

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required
Not required

In an era of species extinction, ecological destruction and uncertain futures, the separation of nature and culture within conceptualisations of heritage has become increasingly untenable.

This presentation considers the potential of an oceanic imaginary to problematise and even dismantle these dualist categories. It does so by attending to the process by which ship becomes wreck becomes reef, and by moving beyond perspectives that centre humans.

With a specific focus on the Belitung, an ancient shipwreck, with a cargo of Chinese ceramics, found in Indonesian waters, this paper dwells on the wreck’s submerged interlude between loss and discovery. It considers the impact of this millennia-long extended period underwater in terms of marine ecosystems and more-than-human growth and destruction, and the ways in which these underwater relationships are represented in exhibitions and curatorial practice.

By de-centring the human, and instead privileging the more-than-human, this presentation contributes to new ways of storytelling in print and in the museum.