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The project

This project envisages the use of traditional, non-polluting, watercraft in the Aegean Sea, in Greece, as a step towards a more sustainable environment and economy. The main research questions addressed are: Why did the use of traditional watercraft fade in the Aegean region ? What was the impact of this disappearance on the local society, economy and environment? What would be required for the potential re-introduction of traditional boats in the Aegean Sea? What would be the socio-economic and environmental benefits of that action?

The project will firstly document the changes in the use of traditional watercraft in the Aegean Sea, in Greece, and particularly the shift from wooden non-fuel boats to polluting motor-boats as it occurred during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Secondly, the research will determine the socio-political circumstances that led to this transition, as well as the impact that this change in watercraft had on the local economies, the coastal communities and the marine environment of the Aegean Sea. Finally, the project will assess the possibility of a successful re-introduction of traditional watercraft. The social impact, the reaction of the local communities to such re-establishment, as well as the positive outcomes for the creation of sustainable local economies that preserve the natural marine environment will be issues of major importance.

The interdisciplinary perspectives of this research have been inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the need for urgent climate action. Its originality lies in the fact that it examines issues of environmental and economic sustainability from the scopes of maritime history, archaeology and ethnography. This unique approach will make the methodology and results of the project applicable elsewhere in the world beyond the case of the Aegean Sea.

The project Re-imagining the use of traditional watercraft in the Aegean Sea for a sustainable environment and economy is carried out at the Department of Cultures of the University of Helsinki, in Finland, from August 2021 to July 2024 with funding granted by the Kone Foundation (Koneen Säätiö).

© Katerina Velentza. Information about this project can be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Principal Investigator Katerina Velentza and the current website with appropriate referencing to the original content.