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There are several ways to get involved in maritime archaeology projects in Victoria.

Policy and guidelines

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage sets out the basic principles for maritime heritage protection. It also provides practical rules for the treatment and research of maritime heritage sites.

The Annex to the Convention and its Manual for Activities Directed at Underwater Cultural Heritage is a set of best practice guidelines which should be used to guide any maritime heritage project.

The Burra Charter was endorsed by Heritage Victoria in 2010 as a key document for guiding best-practice cultural heritage management in Victoria.

Heritage Victoria also encourages maritime archaeologists to refer to Graeme Henderson’s 1994 Guidelines for the management of Australia’s shipwrecks, published by AIMA.

Further research

You can access Heritage Victoria’s publicly available information on shipwrecks by using the Advanced Shipwreck Search.

The Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database has more information on some wrecks.

The Nautical Archaeology Society’s Big Anchor Project has a database of over 500 anchors from around the world, and information on how to record anchors.

Training and courses

AIMA/NAS foreshore and underwater training program

This internationally accredited course is licensed to the Australasian Institute of Maritime Archaeology (AIMA) from the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) in the UK. The Australian course is made up of 2 parts, which become more intensive as students progress through the program.

Part 1 is a two-day (usually a weekend) course that equips participants with the basics of underwater archaeology. There is some theory on legislation, history of maritime archaeology and search and survey techniques. Students participate on a simulated underwater survey (on land) and draw up their results. After passing a short quiz, students will receive their internationally recognised certificate.

More information is available at the AIMA. Heritage Victoria teaches the program in various locations around Melbourne and regional Victoria on demand.

To put your name down for an upcoming course email Heritage Victoria.

Study maritime archaeology

Flinders University in Adelaide offers work-recognised postgraduate courses in maritime archaeology, which you can study on campus or by distance education. Heritage Victoria runs regular field schools in partnership with Flinders University.

Page last updated: 01/07/24