Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Christopher R. DeCorse


archaeology of the event, Atlantic trade, eventscape, formation processes, micro-sampling, shipwreck

Subject Categories



Integrating theoretical and methodological approaches to formation processes across a range of scales from micro-artifact to region and from historical to environmental processes, this work explores the archaeology of the event related to submerged archaeological sites within the Elmina seascape of coastal Ghana. Building on and intersecting with the work of other scholars, this research is a unique approach to the investigation of submerged cultural remains related to historical maritime trade. Remote sensing surveys in 2009 led to the identification of three sites related to maritime trade, adding significantly to the two previously known sites, which include a circa 1650 shipwreck, referred to as the Elmina Wreck, and the remains of an early 18th century vessel in the Benya Lagoon. Drawing on remote sensing survey data, diver investigations, and the micro-sampling sediment coring technique developed over the course of field research, the historical and physical environment of coastal Elmina is studied as a means of interpreting the unique events surrounding a specific shipwreck, and to relate formation processes across the region to this and other sites. While archaeological evidence is limited, the complex study of formation processes, including the historical contexts of trade and the physical environmental has provided insights into events and practices of trade, destruction and preservation of submerged sites, and has provided a foundation for continued holistic investigation and maritime archaeological studies in the region. The methodological and theoretical approaches to formation processes form a model applicable to maritime research across the globe.


Open Access

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