In recent years historical shipwrecks in the intertidal zone have become exposed at a perceivably higher rate on a global scale. The wrecks are exposed by coastal erosion and storms, which effects are exacerbated by climate change. Some of the wrecks have been preserved to a stunning degree, enduring the centuries like 'time-capsules'. This applies to cases where the hull was entirely covered by the sediment, acting as a natural protection against marine borers and keeping the site in a permanently waterlogged state. However, once the sediment layer is washed away, the deterioration process begins, often at a dramatic pace. This poses a great challenge to heritage protection authorities, as neither the methods of terrestrial nor underwater archaeology can be fully applied in this difficult terrain. Moreover, the identity of many of those wrecks is unknown. Archival research takes time and once the identity and historical significance has been established, the wreck itself may have already been destroyed by the forces of nature. For this reason, the conference shall provide a forum for maritime archaeologists, historians, geologists and museologists to exchange their experiences and best-practice examples in dealing with this great challenge.
The keynote speech on November 18 is open to the public and can be attended without registration. The conference on November 19 - 20 is a closed event with no in-person auditorium. However, it can be followed remotely via a livestream on this website.
Please note that the programme is subject to change
The public keynote speech by Dr. Jerzy Gawronski is open to the public. He will talk about the shipwreck of the AMSTERDAM, a Dutch East Indiaman foundered off the British coast near Hastings in 1749. The wreck has been known for a very long time, but it was not before 1969 that it was identified as the AMSTERDAM. Preliminary archaeological investigations in the early 1980's have revealed a very rich find assemblage. In the near future, the entire wreck shall be salvaged and brought back to its eponymous port of origin, where the wreck shall be displayed in a museum. This wreck is an interesting long-term example and showcases the potential of well preserved shipwrecks in the intertidal zone, thus a fitting subject for a keynote lecture.
Shipwreck Archaeology in the intertidal zone:
• circumstances and timeline of discovery
• type and history of the studied wrecks
• field methodology in challenging conditions
• environmental and anthropogenic threats
• long-term monitoring, wrecksite formation, coastal erosion
• shipwrecks and the public: looting threat, sightseeing, volunteers, conservation and museums
Stranded ships and the historical narrative:
• the law and the sea: ship-scrapping , beachcombing, piracy
• the economy of wrecks: wrecking shares, insurances, salvaged goods, re-use
• the local community and memoryscapes (e.g. cemeteries, chronicles of accidents and loss of life, saved crews, narratives, local myths)
• flotsam and jetsam in the museum: what is a wreck, what is scrap?