Is there an Archaeological Potential for a Sociology of Landing Sites?

Kristin Ilves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Repeatedly, archaeological research on landing sites draws upon the equivalence between a naturally suitable coast and a landing site/harbour. This kind of research emanates from an archaeologically and socially ill-defined landing site concept and has created a basis for arbitrary discussions on the nature of maritime activities of past societies. There is no comprehensive and integrated understanding of the existing variability, character and patterns of landing site behaviour and relations. This article addresses the question of what characterises landing sites for watercrafts in an archaeological and social perspective. If such characteristics can be defined, what are the possibilities of seeing any of these traits in an archaeological material? Defining a landing site as a contact zone where movements and meetings on land and by watercraft take place and are facilitated by the locality as such, a generally applicable model for the archaeological study of landing sites is suggested and checked against three different archaeological case studies from the Baltic Sea region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Archaeology and Ancient History
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • archaeology
  • Baltic Sea region
  • Fribrødre Å
  • harbour
  • Krogen Island
  • landing site
  • model of interaction
  • Maritime archaeology
  • Maritime cultural landscape
  • sociology of landing sites
  • Tornimäe


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