The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

The images displayed in this exhibition represent knowledge, understanding and ideology about the sea, its creatures and its mysteries from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Our exploration of the Roderic Bowen Library and Archives required to prepare this exhibition has been in itself a voyage of discovery. We hope you will enjoy this spatial and temporal journey through the chosen texts, and revel in a sample of the extraordinary richness of the RBLA collections.

Fischbuch GESNER, C.1575

The exhibition is in three sections and covers myths, voyages, and discoveries


These representations are examples of mythological sea monsters, conjured up in a time when people were very superstitious about the sea. Even when voyages had been undertaken and discoveries made to the contrary, they lingered in people's imagination.


Following on from the explorative voyages of the sixteenth centuries, here are just two examples of the types of books which began to be produced in the following centuries. They detail the routes, knowledge and experiences which informed maritime endeavours, in one of the most active periods of naval history.


The 'discoveries' in this section are the result of the types of myths and voyages illustrated in the previous sections. They represent the fine line between fantasy and fact in a period when belief and supposition was slowly turning into scientific knowledge and understanding.

CONTRIBUTORS: Sarah Daligan, Ceri Ebenezer, Lucy Evershed, Amanda Geering, Karen George, Kathryn Horton, Amelia Joicey,Kate Lynch, Victoria Roberts, Chris Tovey, Annette Zimmerman; all students within the Archaeology Department, University of Wales, Lampeter, studying for the MA Cultural Heritage Management, 2002.