Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Maritime Archaeology on Norfolk Island

Most of the focus of historic shipwrecks on Norfolk Island has been on the HMS Sirius. As the flagship of the First Fleet the wreck site and artefacts have national significance and so of course have been the focus of much attention. However there have been many other shipwrecks around Norfolk and there are various anchors and other objects that have been sighted by divers across the years. It is now timely to begin to shift our focus to trying to discover the stories of these other shipwrecks and objects and by doing so ensure that they are protected. We are very excited to be able to do this via some wonderful training in maritime archaeology that will be of interest to divers and non-divers alike.

On the weekend of November 6th and 7th the Museum will be running part 1 of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology and Nautical Archaeology Society (AIMA/NAS) course which will be run by Cass Phillipou, the senior AIMA/NAS tutor. This exciting course is able to be offered via funding from the Historic Shipwrecks Program. The aim is to start a Norfolk Island Maritime Archaeology Association which will help to plot shipwreck sites and objects, look for items and help protect those that are found.

The course is designed as a general introduction to maritime archaeology and will cover a wide range of issues and skills such as recording techniques and surveying methods. It will focus on the importance of shipwrecks to archaeology and our national heritage in addition to the basics of how to locate, identify and survey shipwrecks in a non-intrusive way. Other topics are definitions, archaeological sciences, material conservation, ship construction and State and Commonwealth legislation.

Normally this 8 hour course is $200.00 per participant, however as we are able to offer it with funding from the Historic Shipwrecks Program – it will be free to Norfolk Island participants. On completion, you’ll gain a 12 month membership to AIMA and an internationally recognised AIMA/NAS certificate.

This course will be of interest to people who want to enhance their diving experience, be involved in underwater projects and be part of a forum of wreck enthusiasts. You
 don’t need to be a diver to be involved – there is plenty for the non-diver who is interested in our underwater archaeology. While we don’t want to knock back anyone, the class size limit will be about 20. If you’d like to hear more about the course or register your name for attendance please call me on 23788.

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