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An Introduction to Maritime Archaeology. Case study: Tassie II Byron Bay. Overview. What is Maritime Archaeology? Why studying and preserve underwater heritage? Historical shipwreck conservation and management in Australia Role of the volunteer

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an introduction to maritime archaeology

An Introduction to Maritime Archaeology

Case study: Tassie II Byron Bay

  • What is Maritime Archaeology?
  • Why studying and preserve underwater heritage?
  • Historical shipwreck conservation and management in Australia
  • Role of the volunteer
  • Case study: The Tassie II, main beach Byron Bay
what is archaeology
What is Archaeology?
  • Identification and interpretation of physical traces of past life (Dean et al. 2000)
  • Aims to explain, putting artefacts into a cultural context
  • Provides insights into past lives, choices, motivations
  • Develops a framework for future endeavour
what is maritime archaeology
What is Maritime Archaeology?
  • The scientific study of the material remains of human activity on the sea, lakes and rivers (McCarthy 1998; Delgado (ed) 1997)
  • The primary object of study is man, not the physical remains which the researcher is immediately confronted with (Muckelroy 1978)
what is maritime archaeology5
What is Maritime Archaeology?
  • Artefacts are not always submerged (eg. dry river bank sites)
  • Underwater archaeology is not always Maritime Archaeology (submerged dwellings)
  • Nautical Archaeology - vessel construction and use
why study underwater heritage
Why study underwater heritage?
  • Physical link with the past
  • Understand lifestyles and choices of the distant past (easy to justify)
  • Archaeology of the recent past
    • Poor record keeping
    • Conflicting accounts
    • Secrecy
  • Context is everything (site integrity)
need for protection and research
Need for protection and research
  • Advent of SCUBA in the 1940 and 50’s
  • Looting of WA Dutch wrecks in the 1960’s
  • Need to develop maritime archaeology in Australia
    • Need to document and study sites
    • Need for understanding of site processes
    • Site management plans
  • Cultural and scientific value
heritage legislation
Heritage legislation
  • Commonwealth Navigation Act (1912)
    • Requires reporting wrecks to the Receiver of Wrecks (Australian Maritime Safety Authority)
    • No brief to protect archaeological significance
  • West Australian Museums Act (amended)
  • Maritime Archaeology Act (1973)
  • Successful challenge to WA legislation
  • Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976) (C’wealth)
  • Complementary state legislation
protective measures
Protective measures
  • Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976)
    • Administered by delegates in each state (Director, NSW Heritage office)
    • 75 years (known or unknown)
    • Conservation orders/protection zones
    • Large fines and imprisonment
  • State legislation
    • Heritage Act (1977) (50 years)
  • Other state and Commonwealth acts
responsible agencies
Responsible agencies
  • Enforcement by State, Territory or Commonwealth Police
  • Heritage Office
    • Administration of State and Commonwealth acts
    • Development and implementation of public programs (ANMM)
    • Disseminating information to the public (ANMM)
    • Access (permits)
non government organisations
Non-government organisations
  • Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA)
    • Assists state agencies with programs
    • Conferences and publications (AIMA Bulletin/newsletters)
    • National Shipwreck database
    • Code of ethics
    • Training of volunteers (AIMA/NAS courses)
non government organisations12
Non-government organisations
  • Other national bodies
    • Australian Association for Maritime History
    • Maritime Museums Association of Australia
    • National trust
  • Amateur groups and historical societies (Richmond River Historical Society)
  • Private museums and other interest groups
community involvement
Community involvement
  • Documenting maritime heritage is a massive job
  • Cooperative involvement of divers vital for successful management of sites
    • Brochures and information displays
    • Heritage trails
    • Wrecks alive program
  • NAS/AIMA training
  • Volunteer work with archaeologists
aima nas training
AIMA/NAS training
  • Raise awareness of underwater heritage and significance
  • Introduce principles of Maritime Archaeology
  • Provide training in:
    • Search techniques (remote sensing)
    • Position fixing
    • Basic site survey
    • Non-destructive sampling
case study tassie ii background
Case study: Tassie IIBackground
  • Diving wreck for 10 years +
  • Surveyed with Clegg (1997)
  • AIMA/NAS Part 1
  • AIMA/NAS Part 2/Field School
case study tassie ii rationale
Case study: Tassie IIRationale
  • Priority to artefacts that provide new insights into the past or are particularly representative of the technology of an era
case study tassie ii rationale17
Case study: Tassie IIRationale
  • Little known/recorded about the role of merchant vessels in WWII
  • Limited documentary evidence
  • Conflicting oral history
    • Crew blamed for loss of vessel
  • Easy shore access
  • Need for site management?
  • Potential for heritage trail?
case study tassie ii the paper trail
Case study: Tassie IIThe paper trail
  • Biggest part is the background research
  • The oral history
    • Pre-war service
    • Wartime service
    • The wreck event
case study tassie ii research priorities
Case study: Tassie II Research priorities
  • Relationship with jetty remains
  • Vessel type and construction
    • Engine room
    • crane pulley
  • Site conservation
  • Heritage trail?
  • Site management plan?
artefact conservation
Artefact conservation
  • What is an artefact?
  • Object no longer in it’s functional context
  • Why salvage and preserve artefacts?
  • Available to general public
  • Preserve representative examples of a particular technology
  • Prevent loss/destruction
  • Much more information can be obtained