Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me: The Maritime Culture of the Sea People

A paper by Professor Louise Hitchcock, University of Melbourne, for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 10 April in the Mcmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts.

An anthropological approach to culture extrapolates social structures, traditions and general organizing principles of that culture from the careful observation of patterns of behavior as described in case studies.  In the absence of a living culture to record, archaeologists extrapolate this information from behavior reconstructed from spatially determined patterns in the deposition of material remains and from patterns found in the general organizing principles of historically documented cultures, using arguments based on analogy.  This talk builds on my previous research with Aren Maeir on the “Sea Peoples” as a piratical culture in order to investigate and to apply an anthropological approach to understanding the cultural identities of the various tribal groups involved in maritime activities at the end of the Bronze Age who are popularly known as the “Sea People” and place this within the broader context of the current discussions on the transition between the Late Bronze and Iron Age in the Mediterranean.