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Lead book review

A wealth of knowledge salvaged from shipwrecks

Goods found on board can illuminate trade routes and global connections, often going back thousands of years, in ways no other archaeological sites can

3 February 2024

9:00 AM

3 February 2024

9:00 AM

A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks David Gibbins

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pp.289, 25

The flow of histories of the world, or parts of it, in a bundle of items never ceases, 12 years after Neil MacGregor presented world history through 100 objects from the British Museum. Many of these were of unknown provenance and therefore disconnected from their original context. By contrast, world history built around shipwrecks offers the opportunity to seize precise moments in time – most often when a sudden emergency has taken a ship to the bottom of the sea in the midst of everyday activities.

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