The First Ten Years of MARE
Many great institutions are founded on the enthusiasm, foresight and inspiration of one individual.
This is certainly the case of Oxford University MARE (Maritime Archaeological Research),
one of the biggest and most successful maritime archaeological teams in the world, started by Mensun Bound a decade ago.
Since Sea History was the first magazine to champion seriously the cause of the Falkland Island Cape Homers,
OXFORD’S NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY TEAM: it is appropriate that this tribute should appear in these pages,
because Mensun is a Falkland Islander whose interest in maritime archaeology was
first sparked off by a fascination with the old square-riggers from the great age of sail whose hulked remains dot his native shores.
After school in Uruguay, Mensun went to sea in an old steamer that plied between the Falklands, South Georgia, Uruguay and Chile.
In 1971 he jumped ship in the Straits of Magellan and, over eight months,
hitched to the States in search of a university education.
He spent over six years working and studying in New York, during which time he drove taxis,
loaded trucks, worked as a research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and spent many afternoons with his books on the deck of the Wavertree
(which regular readers will remember has a special association with the Falklands, as she was condemned there).
OXFORD’S NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY TEAM: In 1979, Mensun left his beloved Greenwich Village apartment,
and, with top academic honors in ancient history and archaeology, moved to Oxford to continue his studies amidst the “dreaming spires.”
Soon after this, he joined George Bass’s team in Turkey, and then went on to work with the French on the famous Madraque de Giens wreck,
followed by several stints on the Mary Rose in the mud of the Solent.
With this experience of the best universities, museums
and archaeological teams in the world, the stage was set for the formation of MARE.
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