Dr Julian Whitewright is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton. He is coordinator of Postgraduate Teaching in Archaeology, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Julian is a maritime archaeologist specialising in the study of boats and ships, specifically their construction and use, across all periods of time. His doctoral thesis, (Southampton, 2008), addressed the theme of maritime technological change in the ancient Mediterranean through the archaeology of sailing rigs. His ongoing research continues to explore the development of sailing and seamanship in the past, but has increasingly turned to computational methods to augment the skills and experience gained from being on board. Research projects have included the digital reconstruction and visualisation of a very-large Roman cargo ship for Damian Hirst’s major project ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable (2017)’.
Julian’s interest and love of watercraft extends beyond a job. He grew up by the sea in West Wales, and joined the village RNLI ILB aged 17. He is an experienced sailor and rower, primarily in traditional vessels and Bantry Bay Gigs in particular. In 2004 he skippered the United Kingdom Gig which claimed first place in the World Championships, reprising this success as the coach of the team in 2010. He is a trustee within that organisation – Atlantic Challenge Great Britain – where they focus on the teaching of traditional seamanship through experiential endeavour. This work allows him to bring hard-learned practical experience in traditional watercraft into the classroom, and the research project, as a means to further understand maritime archaeology.
Dr Whitewright has been engaged by the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company to consolidate the research being undertaken and question the theories that have been put forward from a maritime archaeological perspective. He is overseeing Phase 1 of the project, working with Pat Tanner and Paul Handley, to undertake the digital modelling and testing of the ship using state of the computational approaches and technology.