Van scheepshout tot digitale wrakken. Een reflectie op de ontwikkeling en toekomst van de maritieme archeologie in Nederland
Wooden ships and digital wrecks. A reflection upon the development and future of maritime archaeology in The Netherlands. This paper explores the development of the Dutch maritime archaeological research tradition, the current status of the discipline, and its future perspective. To that end, the focus is mainly on the most important maritime archaeological entity: the shipwreck. Many of the Dutch shipwrecks have been found and studied in the former seabed of the Zuiderzee (the current polders of the province of Flevoland). Ever since the 1940s, shipwrecks have been examined in this region. Until the beginning of the 21st century, many of these wrecks were studied in a more or less traditional (analogue and manual) way. Nowadays, traditional and modern excavation techniques and methods are combined for fast, accurate and detailed research results. We should realize that, whereas the quality of maritime archaeological research will improve over the next 25 years, the preservation quality of the shipwrecks will continue to decrease due to soil disturbance, dehydration and decompression. Therefore, future maritime archaeological developments should focus not only on research techniques, but also on new and better methods that will help to prevent a further deterioration of the Dutch wrecks.