Basic Studies on the Western Shipwrecks Discovered in the Ryukyu Archipelago and Their Influence on Modern Society

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Title

Basic Studies on the Western Shipwrecks Discovered in the Ryukyu Archipelago and Their Influence on Modern Society

Description

Extensive distributional survey of the underwater cultural heritage revealed the disposition of 230 underwater cultural heritage sites in the Ryukyu Archipelago, and 23 sites out of 230 are identified as the wreck sites. Dates of these wrecks vary from the 12th to 20th centuries; nevertheless, all the Western shipwrecks found at six sites are dated to within about 100 years between the latter half of the 18th century to the 19th century. This presentation is about the Western shipwrecks left in the sea area of the Ryukyu Kingdom. From the late 18th century, the ships from the Western powers stared to appear frequently. Historical documents describes that those ships had not intended to come to the kingdom, but were wrecked due to maritime accidents. Such incidents brought opportunities for local population to come into contact with the Westerners though rescuing the wrecks and their crews. Historical documents and local lore, confirmed by the material evidence retrieved from the seabed, show that those contacts in some cases developed to the cultural interaction between local governments, or even nation-tonation. Moreover, the stories of the accidents and rescue efforts by the local have long been handed down from generation to generation as moving tales. In fact, there are some cases that those tales were materialised, for instance in forms of a reconstructed Western ship
facilitated as play equipment in a local park near the wreck site, as well as an amusement park themed under the country of the wreck’s nationality. This research aims to present how the archaeological evidence confirm historical records related to the Western shipwrecks though the result of investigation of underwater cultural heritage, as well as to analyse how those initial contacts with the Westerners though the wreck accidents developed into the cultural interaction which can be influential even now.

Creator

Chiaki Katagiri
Yumiko Nakanishi
Rintaro Ono
Hiroki Miyagi

Publisher

The Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Date

11/24/2017

Rights

Chiaki Katagiri
Yumiko Nakanishi
Rintaro Ono
Hiroki Miyagi

Files

KatagiriFINAL.pdf

Citation

Chiaki Katagiri et al., “Basic Studies on the Western Shipwrecks Discovered in the Ryukyu Archipelago and Their Influence on Modern Society,” The MUA Collection, accessed January 29, 2023, http://www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1814.

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