Education and getting involved

Education - Vocational training in Australia

AIMA/NAS: Archaeology underwater- an introduction

The Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA) conducts regular maritime archaeology introductory courses.

The training program is based on a program developed by the Nautical Archaeological Society (NAS)  of Britain.

This is an internationally recognised course conducted in a number of countries including the UK, South Africa, Canada, the USA and Sri Lanka. The course provides training in maritime archaeology at an amateur level.

The Nautical Archaeology Society is an international society which is based in the UK. One of the stated aims of the Nautical Archaeology Society is to advance education in maritime archaeology at all levels. The NAS has put this into practice by introducing a structured training scheme open to both divers and non-divers. It was designed and developed by archaeologists and recreational divers working together, and has proved to be an effective way to learn basic archaeological skills for use underwater.

The general aim of the course is to introduce the methods and procedures employed in underwater archaeology, as well as to generate awareness regarding shipwreck preservation in our country.

This course is enjoyed by anyone with an interest in how maritime archaeologists operate underwater - historians, archaeology students, travellers, divers and non-divers. Diving is not a requirement of the course and in many courses are conducted on dry land.

For more information see the schedule of courses  on the AIMA web site. You will also find contact details for the AIMA Senior Tutor and a list of the State Tutors organising courses in each Australian State and Territory and New Zealand.

Education - Academic training

Flinders University

The graduate program in maritime archaeology  includes a graduate coursework program that offers three awards: Graduate Certificate in Maritime Archaeology (18 units), Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology (36 units) and Master of Maritime Archaeology (54 units). The awards are offered both internally (on-campus) as well as by distance learning (online) and attracts both domestic and overseas students. The program was first offered in 2002 (with the first graduate in 2003) and it has now seen nearly 40 graduates including 22 Masters, 6 Diploma and 9 Certificate students from eight different countries (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, UK and South Africa) graduate from the program in just five years. In 2008 there will be 30 full-time and part-time students enrolled in various awards within the program.

Flinders University Fieldschool

Underwater archaeologist Mark Staniforth and the Museum of Underwater Archaeology are pleased to announce the 2008 Flinders University Field School Project Journal. Follow along as a new international group of students start their underwater training in Australia. Project journals such as this offer the public the opportunity to see how future underwater archaeologists learn the skills necessary to explore, record, preserve, and learn from submerged cultural resources.

Flinders University coordinates an annual Maritime Archaeology Field School  that introduces the techniques of underwater survey, position fixing, mapping, photography, recording, excavation and conservation. This year the field school will be based at Mount Dutton Bay, South Australia, with the support of South Australian Heritage Branch. Students will be investigating a shipwreck and other maritime infrastructure on land and underwater as part of these training exercises, and a blog for the fieldshool will be hosted at the Museum of Underwater Achaeology.

University of Western Australia and Western Australian Museum

These postgraduate degrees are taught every 2 to 3 years in Perth, Australia. The program aims to provide the specialist practical skills and knowledge in maritime archaeology, or to lead students to higher-degree research in the field of maritime archaeology. The courses are taught by expert archaeologists and museum staff (maritime archaeologists, conservators, conservation scientists, museum curators, historians, boat builders) at both the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Museum as well as industry experts in geophysics, remote sensing, and marine studies. Focus is very much 'hands-on' as well as providing a supportive and stimulating academic environment. Enrolments are limited.

Website: University of Western Australia 

Education - Museum education programs based on historic shipwrecks

Programs from the Australian National Maritime Museum 

Shipwreck associations

Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum is a statutory authority of the Australian Government. Their vision is to be dynamic and innovative in managing and exploring Australia's maritime heritage in ways that inspire, delight and enlighten. Their mission is to bring maritime heritage to life and preserve it for future generations, through:

  • exhibitions, programs and events that are creative, inclusive, enjoyable and memorable
  • development and management of the National Maritime Collection
  • research, acquisition, conservation, interpretation, scholarship, publication, outreach and education
  • national leadership and the provision of support and encouragement to local, regional and community museums which value maritime heritage
  • national and international cooperation and collaboration with museums and other organisations
  • fostering traditional skills and practices

Website: Australian National Maritime Museum 

Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology

The Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology is an non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of underwater cultural heritage, and promotion of maritime archaeology conducted in accordance with internationally accepted ethical standards . Based in Australia it has sponsored work throughout Australia, Asia and the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. It publishes a newsletter, bulletins, special reports including artefact catalogues and offers an annual scholarship.

Website: Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology 

Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria

Established in 1978, the Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria (MAAV) is an association of dedicated divers, historians and archaeologists actively involved in recording Victoria's maritime heritage.

The MAAV works closely with Heritage Victoria's Maritime Heritage Unit (MHU) in researching, surveying, cataloguing, conserving and promoting our maritime past.

Website: Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria 

Maritime Archaeological Association of Queensland

The Maritime Archaeological Association of Queensland, Inc (MAAQ) was established in July, 1982 by the Maritime Archaeology Section at the Queensland Museum.

The Association's aims include to foster interest in, and undertake the systematic study and interpretation of maritime history. MAAQ is committed to setting an ethical standard regarding the non-disturbance of maritime archaeological sites.

Website: Maritime Archaeological Association of Queensland 

Maritime Archaeological Association of WA

The Maritime Archaeology Association of Western Australia was incorporated in October 1974 with an intial membership of 23. The Association has strongly supported the Western Australian Museum's Maritime Archaeology Department in its numerous projects both local and overseas.

Website: Maritime Archaeology Association of Western Australia 

Southern Ocean Exploration

Southern Ocean Exploration is dedicated to exploration, education and preserving our underwater maritime heritage. Unlike other avocational groups that were in part founded by practitioners, this group of dedicated divers formed their own group and are particularly keen on deep water wrecks.

Website: Southern Ocean Exploration 

Diving societies

Historical Diving Society

The Historical Diving Society - South East Asia, Pacific aims to promote and preserve the rich diving heritage of our region, most of which is still little known to the rest of the world. They encourage people with similar historical diving interests to join them in this promotion and find enjoyment through educational displays, writing and researching articles for quarterly magazine Classic Diver, historical walks, regional meetings, film nights, photographic collections, bibliophile meetings and the collection and preservation of historical diving equipment and ephemera.

Website: The Historical Diving Society