A global approach to better understanding piracy through archaeology
“Does an excellent job in taking a global approach to studying piracy through the archaeological lens and succeeds in shining even more light on one of the most romanticized activities throughout human history.”—Frederick H. Hanselmann, author of Captain Kidd’s Lost Ship: The Wreck of the “Quedagh Merchant”
“Dead Man’s Chest refines the signature of pirates in the artifactual record and pushes the known boundaries of where we may find outlaw settlements but also includes updates on the more well-known pirate assemblages that have left previous readers eager for more.”—Charles Bendig, University of West Florida
“Should be on the bookshelf of every maritime and historical archaeologist.”—Chuck Meide, St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program
Featuring discussions of newly discovered evidence from South America, England, New England, Haiti, the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean Sea, and the Indian Ocean, Dead Man’s Chest presents diverse approaches to better understanding piracy through archaeological investigations, landscape studies, material culture analyses, and documentary and cartographic evidence.
The case studies in this volume include medieval and post-medieval piracy in the Bristol Channel, illicit trade in seventeenth-century fishing stations in Maine, and the guerrilla tactics of nineteenth-century privateers and coastal bandits off the Gulf of Mexico Coast. Contributors reveal the story of a Dutch privateer who saved a ship from a storm only to take control of it, partnerships between pirates and Indigenous inhabitants along the Miskito coast, and new findings on the Speaker—one of the first pirate ships to be archaeologically investigated—in Madagascar.
As well as covering shipwrecks and other topics traditionally associated with piracy, several chapters look at pirate facilities on land and cultural interactions with nearby communities as reflected through archival documentation. As a whole, the volume highlights various ways to identify piracy and smuggling in the archaeological record, while encouraging readers to question what they think they know about pirates.
Russell K. Skowronek is professor of anthropology and history at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Charles R. Ewen is professor of anthropology at East Carolina University. Together they coedited X Marks the Spot: The Archaeology of Piracy and Pieces of Eight: More Archaeology of Piracy.