A ‘drift’ in the Anthropocene: A case study of urban maritime materiality

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This study reviews our understanding of the materiality of the coastline, considering it as a function of post-modern ecology and drawing from it narratives of the Anthropocene. It redresses the theoretical and ontological understandings of archaeologists, geographers, historians and creative artists at a unique urban coastal setting. In doing so, it responds to the work of Ϸóra Pétursdóttir in her 2018 work analysing ‘Drift’ and the tensions found within the inter-tidal zone between human and non-human actors in a remote setting. This study aims to challenge Pétursdóttir’s work within an urban setting. This is achieved through photographic survey of Eastney Spit, to the east of Portsea Island on the south coast of England, and the lived experience of its environment and history. It argues that exploration of materials at the maritime borderland can enable re-evaluation of our relationship with the coast as a lived, urban environment. Through the manipulation of material, historically, artistically or unconsciously, the land and seascape of Eastney have been forever altered by both tangible and intangible cultural forces. As such, the concept of 'drift' is applied to evaluate the corruption of maritime forces and the entangled manipulation of materials that forms unique connections between matter and ontology along contemporary urban coastlines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-179
Number of pages23
JournalCoastal Studies and Society
Issue number2-4
Early online date10 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Coast
  • History
  • Anthropocene
  • Maritime
  • maritime history
  • materiality
  • Archaeology

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