What Is Maritime Archaeology?

Maritime archaeology, nautical archaeology, and underwater archaeology are all terms that describe the field of archaeology that focuses on underwater and shoreline sites. Some maritime archaeologists specialize in prehistoric sites while others are interested in ship construction details. At the water’s edge there are countless archaeological sites representing buildings and other evidence of human occupation that are now completely or partially under water due to erosion or sea level rise. These sites often lure terrestrial archaeologists into the water for what some have termed “wet archaeology.”
The term underwater archaeology is a broad category that includes all types of archaeological sites that are under water; historic and prehistoric, shipwrecks and buildings, basically anything that falls into the category submerged cultural resources (or underwater cultural heritage, UCH, the term used by UNESCO). Maritime archaeology is often defined as “the scientific study of the material remains of humans and their activities on the sea,” while nautical archaeology focuses on naval and maritime technology, especially the construction of ships, boats and the associated fittings and equipment.
According to UNESCO, “Underwater  cultural  heritage”  means  all  traces  of  human  existence  having  a  cultural,  historical  or  archaeological  character  which  have  been  partially  or  totally  under  water,  periodically  or  continuously,  for  at  least  100  years such as: (i)  sites,  structures,  buildings,  artefacts [sic]  and  human  remains,  together  with their archaeological and natural context; (ii)  vessels,  aircraft,  other  vehicles  or  any  part  thereof,  their  cargo  or  other  contents,  together  with  their  archaeological  and  natural  context;  and  (iii) objects of prehistoric character. 

Noah MillerMaritime Archaeology | What Is It?