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University of Rhode Island 2015 Summer Field School in Maritime Archaeology

March 16, 2015
Student at work in Bermuda.

Student at work in the University of Rhode Island Bermuda field school.

The 2015 Field School in Maritime Archaeology is an ongoing research expedition conducted in Bermuda by faculty of the University of Rhode Island. Participants come from the University of Rhode Island and from other colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. The field school is a research-based learning experience that exposes students to a variety of activities including archival research, artifact conservation, archaeological survey, and underwater excavation and documentation of historic shipwrecks.

The field school will be conducted in the three-week period from July 20 to August 8, 2015. Students will receive 3-6 undergraduate or graduate credits in history. The field school meets many of the fieldwork requirements for anthropology and archaeology majors at universities in the United States and beyond. Professors Rod Mather and James M. Allan of the University of Rhode Island History Department are the program directors. Dr. Allan and Dr. Mather have extensive experience in underwater archaeological field methods, remote sensing, archival research, and scientific diving.

Course enrollment is limited. There are no academic prerequisites, but all participants in the field school must be scuba divers certified to at least the Open Water level, and all must be at least Scientific Divers-in- Training as specified in the American Academy of Underwater Sciences’ (AAUS) Diving Safety Manual. Contact Dr. Mather or Dr. Allan to discuss how the latter training may be obtained prior to the start of the field school. Students must have their own diving equipment (tanks and weights will be provided).

Students learning survey techniques in Bermuda.

Students learning survey techniques in Bermuda.

While in Bermuda, students will participate in each of three research modules: laboratory training in the museum’s conservation facility, archaeological survey and documentation of historic shipwrecks, and archival research in the Bermuda National Archives, located in the nearby city of Hamilton. Students selecting the 3- credit option will be required to keep a field journal containing details of each day’s research activities, instruction, and procedures. Journals will be submitted for evaluation at the end of the field school. Students will also be required to prepare and submit a scaled plan of the shipwreck site that we will be documenting, and will participate in preparing a collaborative report on the field school that will be submitted for publication in MariTimes, the magazine of the National Museum of Bermuda. Students selecting a 6-credit option will be required to complete all activities for the 3-credit option plus a research paper using materials presented in the course reader, supplementary readings available in the National Museum of Bermuda’s library, or from primary documents available in the Bermuda National Archives. In addition, while in Bermuda students will attend periodic evening lectures on such topics as ship construction, archaeological theory and methodology, archival research methods, archaeological survey methods (magnetometer and visual survey), site excavation and mapping, analysis of archaeological data, and the conservation of waterlogged artifacts.

The course fee is $3,500, all-inclusive, except airfare. Full course credit. For additional information contact Dr. Mather (RodMather@uri.edu) (401-874-4093) or Dr. Allan (jallan@stmarys-ca.edu) (925-253-9070). Application form and additional information are available on the field school website at http://www.uri.edu/international/bermuda.

For information on the research diving requirements contact URI’s Diving Safety Officer Anya Hanson <anyahanson@uri.edu.

Student working with instructor Dr. James Allan in Bermuda.

Student working with instructor Dr. James Allan in Bermuda.

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Final Posts to the Asia-Pacific Conference Proceedings

August 5, 2014

Today marks the Museum of Underwater Archaeology’s fourth and final release of papers and posters from the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. This brings this collection to a total of 84 papers, 18 videos, and 6 posters.  Today’s releases include:

Session 13: Maritime and Underwater Archaeology of the Indian Ocean Region (organizer: Sila Tripati)

Session 14: Pre-Hispanic Navigation (organizer: Carlos Ausejo)

Session 15: Legal Framework for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (organizer: Craig Forrest)

Poster Session: 6 presenters.

The MUA is proud to facilitate bringing this collection to a wide viewership, and hopes to continue to serve this and other similar conferences in the future for the free exchange of academic information.

You can view the collections here:

http://www.themua.org/collections/collections/show/13

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New Asia-Pacific Conference Papers Posted

July 29, 2014

Today the Museum of Underwater Archaeology releases the third of four sets of papers from the proceedings of the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. 20 papers and 4 videos or written interviews by session organizers describe the various sessions and concerns faced in the field. Today’s sessions include:

Session 9: History and Current Trends of Underwater Archaeology around East Asia (organizer: Akifumi Iwabuchi)

Session 10: Indigenous Cultural Landscapes and Biocultural Resources in Hawaii and the Pacific (organizer: Kehau Watson; additional interviews with William Alia Jr. and Kepa Maly)

Session 11:  World War II and Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Pacific (organizer: Bill Jeffery)

Session 12: Underwater Cultural Heritage of Southeast Asia (organizer: Nia Hasana)

You can view the collections here:

http://www.themua.org/collections/collections/show/13

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Sessions 5 -8 from the 2014 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage Now Online

July 22, 2014

Today the Museum of Underwater Archaeology releases an additional twenty eight papers and four videos from the proceedings of the 2014 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. Introductory videos by session organizers describe the reasons for convening their panels and their hopes for future research paths.

The sessions featured this week include:

Session 5: Early Modern Colonialism in the Asia-Pacific Region (Organizer:
Dr. María Cruz Berrocal)

Session 6: Iberian Global Interactions: the Manila Galleon and the Roteiro
(Organizers: Veronica Walker, Brian Fahy, and Bobby C. Orillaneda;
interview with Veronica Walker)

Session 7: Preservation and Conservation of Wet Archaeological Materials
and Site Management (Organizers: Vicki Richards and Jon Carpenter)

Session 8: Ceramics from Shipwrecks, Harbours, Ports and Related
Archaeological Sites (Organizer: Atthasit Sukkham)

You can view the collections here:

http://www.themua.org/collections/collections/show/13

 

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After the Conference: Saving and Sharing the Knowledge Base

July 17, 2014

T. Kurt Knoerl On 15 July 2014 the online Museum of Underwater Archaeology (MUA) launched the electronic version of the proceedings from the 2014 Asia-Pacific Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage held in Honolulu, Hawaii in May.  One of the great things about this conference is its organizers’ dedication to making the papers freely available online.  A small team of editors made sure that presenters followed the established format and then handed the PDF’s off to the MUA web team for online publication using Omeka software developed at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

After examining the online proceedings one might argue there are better ways to digitally present the papers but that’s a minor point when compared to the larger aim of the free distribution of knowledge.  The cost to create the online proceedings was minimal.  The labor, server space, and bandwidth were all donated.  With this being the case my question is this: why don’t all conferences do this? 

How many conference sessions have we all been to when competing papers of excellent quality had fifty or less viewers in the audience?  Papers from the 2011 Asia-Pacific conference proceedings held in Manila, Philippines have had thousands of downloads in the last three years.  Isn’t that sort of sharing and spreading of knowledge what academia is supposed to be about?

Some have argued that not all conference papers are of equal quality and therefore should be withheld from distribution.  To this I would argue that yes I’ve seen some poor papers over the years but the online proceedings captures a moment in time and represents the state of the field (whatever the discipline) warts and all.  I believe it is better to let a few poor papers get through in order to also preserve the rest that might otherwise be lost to obscurity.   If the authors of bad papers are willing to stand up and present them then they have accepted the responsibility for their paper’s quality for better or worse. 

I was not able to attend the 2014 Asia Pacific conference this past May but I can attend it now, or next year, or the year after that when I discover through my online search that an obscure paper presented there is exactly what I needed to see.   We need to encourage our various professional societies to abandon the model of charging money for printed proceedings at the expense of freely available online versions.  In some cases the printed versions lose money or at best generate little income.  We need to ask ourselves do we conduct our research and present papers to make money or to increase the body of knowledge in our respective fields. 

Save and share the knowledge.

You can view the first installment of the Asia-Pacific conference proceedings here: http://www.themua.org/collections/collections/show/13

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2014 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage Now Online

July 15, 2014

The Museum of Underwater Archaeology is proud to announce the launch of the online proceedings for the 2014 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. This impressive collection will include over 100 papers, video interviews, and posters all freely available online. Today we are releasing the conference introduction and papers from the first four of fifteen sessions. Each week we will publish additional materials. Introductory interviews with the session chairs discuss the impetus for organizing the session and identifies future directions for research in that topic.

Today’s release includes:
-General conference introduction, including video interviews with conference chair Dr. Hans Van Tilburg and keynote speakers Dr. James Delgado and Dr. Sayan Praicharnjit

– Session 1: UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and International Cooperation (Chair: Etienne Clement)

– Session 2: New Approaches in UCH Management in the US (Chair: Dr. Hans Van Tilburg)

– Session 3: Underwater Cultural Heritage, Museums, and Sustainable Development (Chair: Dr. Bill Jeffery)

– Session 4: Underwater Cultural Heritage in Oceania (Chair: Dr. Akatsuki Takahashi)

You can view the collections here:

http://www.themua.org/collections/collections/show/13

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The Search for Underwater Sites from the French and Indian War

July 8, 2014

Underwater archaeologists examine the Land Tortoise sunk in Lake George in 1758.

Underwater archaeologists examine the Land Tortoise sunk in Lake George in 1758.


The MUA is pleased to announce the launch of its seventh full exhibit: The Search for Underwater Sites from the French and Indian War. This exhibit reviews the underwater archaeology studies of Lake George's "Sunken Fleet of 1758" conducted by Bateaux Below from 1987 to 2011, as well as earlier fieldwork undertaken by other research groups. You can view the exhibit here: http://www.themua.org/exhibit_1758/ This is the second digital recreation of a physical museum exhibit. If your museum is interested in having the MUA host a permanent digital version of its exhibits please contact the MUA’s director: kurt@themua.org for more information. Best regards, T. Kurt Knoerl Ph.D.
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