The next PCMA Seminar will host a talk by Mari Yamasaki related to her Polonez-Bis grant project. Her presentation is entitled “Underwater realms – imagining and conceptualizing the sea as a three-dimensional space”.

Abstract: “The study of ancient ‘spaces’ (domestic, public, ritual, political…) has always been a cornerstone of archaeological research in both a quantitative and a qualitative way. Nevertheless, in this proliferation of spatial studies, the research on the perception of underwater spaces in ancient Mediterranean societies represents an almost entirely unexplored area of investigation.

My project aims to investigate the way people of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean experienced, interacted, and engaged with the marine depths in the course of the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE. I will consider how submarine environments were conceptualized, through imaginative elaboration and as a result of direct experiences of immersion. A major focus lies on the perception and presentations of the ‘underwater’ as spaces in their own right, or rather as a reflection of land settings.

In this paper, I will present an excursus of case studies ranging from fish-shaped vases to wall paintings to narrative texts, all exploring the three-dimensionality of the sea as a place for human action and imagination, combining archaeological evidence with approaches deriving from the cognitive sciences. By bringing together material and imagined underwater spaces through the tools offered by cognitive psychology and philosophy, it will be possible to glimpse into a yet unexplored area in ancient studies and understand the perception of the ancient sea from a full, three-dimensional perspective.”

More about the project “Underwater realms. Concepts of underwater spatiality in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean” – LINK

More about Mari Yamasaki – LINK

The seminar will be held in hybrid form on Thursday, 23rd March at 11.30 am CET on Zoom. To obtain a link, please write to the PCMA UW office: