2010 was a great year for the Guest Blogger series which we capped off by publishing the Guest Blogger Anthology (available for free download off the MUA homepage). We are very happy to kick off the 2011 Guest Blogger series by reaching out to a valuable partner in the field of underwater archaeology. We’ve invited Dave Howe to write about avocational involvement in underwater surveys and how trained volunteers can support professional archaeological endeavors.
Avocationals can provide free, useful and valuable labor on field projects or on other work in direct support of projects. Although not trained to professional standards in archaeology, avocationals can bring a number of related or supplemental skills, including diving, boat handling, data management, equipment maintenance, forensics, and more. They also can assist in publication and outreach. The MUA hosts a number of posts from avocational groups.
For instance trained volunteer groups can conduct independent reconnaissance and assessment for State Historic Preservation Offices. For example, during 2010 the Institute of Maritime History (IMH) mapped and reported ten sites to the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), continued searching for two Revolutionary War warships for MHT, and began the first known underwater survey at Mount Vernon, finding two definite wrecks, two probable wrecks, and other cultural features not yet mapped. In February and March 2011 we will map those sites and continue searching for others. This project is for the benefit of Mount Vernon, MHT, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR).