The MARIS research institute at Södertörn University carries out and develops maritime archaeological research, with a special emphasis on the Baltic Sea and the surrounding area.
MARIS seeks to be a meeting point for national and international Baltic maritime archaeological research and to create opportunities for the exchange of knowledge between maritime archaeologists through networking, seminars, workshops and conferences.
MARIS aims to contribute to the development of maritime archaeology through an active theoretical discussion of research directions and through initiatives to stimulate new maritime archaeological research. An important part of this is to be involved in multidisciplinary collaboration with other fields, community organisations and the commercial world.
Maritime Archaeological Research Institute at Södertörn University
The Baltic Sea is one of the best places in the world for maritime archaeological research. Seafaring and its material requirements, such as ships and harbours, are a central feature of the history of the region and its peoples, so this sea has been heavily travelled since far back in time and has seen many wrecks. Many of the organisms which usually destroy wood under water cannot live in the cold, brackish Baltic, and thus shipwrecks and other artefacts can survive nearly intact for hundreds of years in the dark at the bottom of the sea.
Swedish maritime archaeological research has an excellent international reputation, and Sweden is seen as one of the leading countries in the world in this field. This is in no small part due to the salvage of the warship Vasa and the maritime and cultural historical research that developed in the 1970s as a result of work with this famous ship.
Academic education in this subject began at the end of the 1970s with independent courses and supervision of doctoral students. In 1997, maritime archaeology was one of the subjects established with a new faculty as part of the development of Södertörn University. The discipline offered a unique perspective on the Baltic region, which fit well with Södertörn's academic profile, and the establishment of a permanent faculty gave the subject a stable academic platform in Sweden. Södertörn University is today the only faculty in the country which carries out maritime archaeological research and education, and thus plays a central role in the scientific development of the field.