Current Members of the Advisory Body

Michel L'Hour

Michel L'Hour, Chairperson (France)

General curator for underwater archaeology, and Member of the Marine Academy, Michel L'Hour has been the Director of the Department of Underwater Archaeological Research (DRASSM) of the Ministry of Culture since 2006. He joined DASSM in 1982, where he was responsible for the western coasts of France, the overseas territories and international relations. He has directed numerous major underwater archaeological excavations both in France and abroad and specializes in the history of maritime trade from the late Middle Ages to the dawn of the modern era. L'hour is an regularly sought as an expert by many international organisations such as UNESCO, and he is the author of numerous articles and books on the subject. He has also curated major exhibitions such as the Sea for Memory from 2005 to 2009, and The Mystery of Lapérouse, in the National Maritime Museum in 2008.

Augustus Ajibola

Augustus Babajide Ajibola, Vice-chairperson (Nigeria)

Augustus Babajide Ajibola was born in 1963 in Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria. He has worked at the Federal Ministry of Culture of Nigeria in various capacities in overseeing Bilateral Cultural Co-operation Agreements with other countries. He has also assumed multi-lateral duties involving the regulation of the the interlocking governmental network with International Organizations such as UNESCO, OAU, WIPO, ECOWAS, ACP-EU, and other similar trans-national organizations. Presently he is Deputy Director (UNESCO), managing inter alia the Slave Routes, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Iron Roads Project, Culture of Peace, Living Human Treasures projects. During the 3rd meeting of 19 April 2012 he was elected Vice-Chairperson of the Advisory Body.

Annalisa Zarattini

Annalisa Zarattini (Italy)

Annalisa Zarattini was born in 1950 in Italy and graduated with a degree in paleoethnology from the La Sapienza University in Rome. She has worked as an archaeologist since 1980. Currently, she works for the Italian Ministry of Cultural Property and Activities. She held the position of Managing Superintendent for Cultural Property in the Calabria Region between 2005 and 2006. She was also the delegate of the Ministry of Culture for the 1st Conference of States Parties to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in Paris in March 2009. Annalisa Zarattini has taught various courses and seminars, inter alia at the universities La Sapienza, Tor Vergata, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, University of Naples, Cassino, Verona, Viterbo, Barcelona. She is the author or co-author of numerous publications in the field of archaeology.

Dolores Elkin

Dolores Elkin (Argentina)

Dolores Elkin is an Argentinean archaeologist and a professional scientific diver who holds a research position at the National Research Agency (CONICET). She graduated with a Doctoral degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1996, and since then has developed the first Underwater Archaeology Program in the country - based in the National Institute of Anthropology- involving mostly research and management projects. She has been a professor both at the University of Buenos Aires and the National University of the Central Province of Buenos Aires, contributing to the development of the speciality both at graduate and postgraduate levels. During the 3rd meeting of 19 April 2012 she was elected Chairperson of the Advisory Body.

María Elena Barba Meinecke

María Elena Barba Meinecke (Mexico)

Helena Barba was born in México City in 1970. She graduated with a degree in Mexican Archeology from the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico, and is a professional scientific diver with CEMAS. She was Chief of the Project Department in National Coordination of Archaeology in The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) from 1994 to 2001. She participated as chief in the field in several archaeological projects in the State of Campeche. At present she is the head of Underwater Archaeology in the Yucatan Peninsula and the Underwater Archeology Vicedirectorate, INAH, since 2003.
Barba has participated in national and international academic forums on Underwater Archaeology. She is also the author of scientific and popular articles in national and international publications, and has been the curator of many exhibitions related to Underwater Archaeology.
She is an Associate Member of the ACUA Board from the Historic Archaeology Society of the Mexican Association of Anthropologists and a representative of Mexico in the Meeting of States Parties to the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. She has been a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee since May of this year.

Seyed Hossein Sadat Meidani

Seyed Hossein Sadat Meidani (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Seyed Hossein Sadat Meidani (born in Mashhad, Iran) holds a PhD in Public International Law from Tehran University (2008). He has worked as a legal expert in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1999 and has been posted at Iran’s Embassies in The Hague (the Netherlands) and Paris (France). With his expertise in the law of treaties and the law of international organizations, he has been member of Iranian delegations to several international conferences, including the Working Group on the Operational Guidelines of the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and also its Meetings of States Parties. Dr. Sadat is the author of numerous books and articles relating to international law, and has been a lecturer in international law at a host of Iranian universities. During the 4th Meeting on 30 May 2013 he was elected Vice-Chairperson of the Advisory Body.

Constantin Chera

Constantin Chera (Romania)

Constantin Chera was born in 1950 in Bucharest, Romania. From 1969 to 1973 he studied history at the Babes Bolyai University in Sibiu, Romania. In 1975, he was accepted as an archaeologist by the National History and Archaeology Museum Constanta, where he is presently the Head of the Department of Archaeology. In 2001, he obtained the Dr. hab. title. He has represented Romania at international scientific meetings on underwater cultural heritage in Palermo, Napoli, Zadar, Istanbul, Rhodos and Paris. Constantin Chera is an underwater cultural heritage expert of the Romanian Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. He is the author of many publications in the field of archaeology, and scientific papers regarding underwater research, presented at international meetings. He is also an underwater archaeologist. 

Ouafa Ben Slimane

Ouafa Ben Slimane (Tunisia)

Ouafa Ben Slimane is a Tunisian underwater archaeologist working at the Institut National du Patrimoine in Tunis. She holds a Ph.D in History and Civilizations of Antiquities at Université Paris IV Sorbonne, France as well as a Master’s in Pre-history, Archaeology, History and Civilizations ofىAntiquities and Classic Archaeology. She was Scientific coordinator at ARCHAEOMAP  as well as Collaborator on the STRABON Euro- Mediterranean Project.

Jasen Mesic

Jasen Mesic (Croatia)

Currently State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Jasen Mesić participated on behalf of his country’s delegation in the four expert meetings for the drafting of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001). He is an archaeologist of international and educational background, author and co-author of scientific publications in the field, director of numerous underwater archaeological projects, experienced professional archaeological diver and member of the ICOMOS International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH). Jasen Mesić has been actively engaged in the protection of underwater cultural heritage in the Adriatic coast of Croatia since the 1990s. With his support, the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology was founded in Zagreb in 2007.

Vladas Zulkus

Vladas Zulkus (Lithuania)

Vladas Zulkus is currently the Rector of Klaipėda University in Lithuania. He is also a member of the Lithuanian Archaeological Society (Chairman 2001-2002), the head of the working group for underwater cultural heritage in Lithuania (Baltic Sea Region Cultural Heritage network), member of the Council for Evaluation of Cultural Heritage (Department for Cultural Heritage of Lithuania), Vice Chairman of the Committee for Coastal Development (Lithuanian Academy of Sciences) and an expert member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (since 2008). He has considerable teaching experience in the fields of archaeology and underwater archaeology. Vladas Zulkus has headed many expeditions in medieval archaeology, underwater and maritime archaeology. He has published many books and articles in the field of underwater archaeology in Lithuanian, Russian, English, and German. He also participated in projects concerning culture in the Southern Baltic Sea region.

Hugo Eliecer Bonilla Mendoza

Hugo Eliecer Bonilla Mendoza (Panama)

Hugo Eliecer Bonilla Mendoza (Panama) holds a PhD in law (2009) from Rosario University, Argentina. He is presently the director of the legal department of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura. He represented Panama in a meeting held in the United States on illicit traffic in archaeological objects in 2002. Mendoza also drafted the law reform repealing the decrees of Cabinet No. 364 of 1969, which used to allow the looting of underwater cultural heritage in Panama. Furthermore, he has participated as an expert in meetings on the 1954 and 1970 UNESCO Conventions. In December 1999, he participated in the first Iberoamerican Congress on the Law of Cultural Objects at the Carlos III University in Madrid.

Ovidio Juan Ortega Pereyra

Ovidio Juan Ortega Pereyra (Cuba)

Ovidio Juan Ortega Pereyra graduated with a degree in art history (emphasis on archaeology) from Havana University, and obtained a PhD in archaeology in 1996.  Since 1982, he has worked as a scientific researcher at the Cuban Science Academy, where his main area of interest is the history of technology (mainly the construction of ships), as well as pre-Columbian and colonial period archaeology. Until 1999, he was deputy director of the Cuban Anthropological Institute. Pereyra is a member of the National Archaeological Committee, the National Union of Cuban Historians and the Group of Naval Historians of the Cuban Republic.  He is the author of multiple publications and scientific papers in the fields of archaeology and history. Since 2000, he has been the head of the Archaeological Department of the Direction of Underwater Studies of Maritime Services. 

Previous Members

Previous members of the Advisory Body: 

  • Francisco Alves (Portugal)
  • Milton Eric Branford (Saint Lucia)
  • Kalin Stoynev Porozhnov (Bulgaria)
  • Hossein Tofighian (Islamic Republic of Iran)
  • Serhiy Oleksandrovych Voronov (Ukraine)
  • Andrej Gaspari (Slovenia)
  • Carmen García Rivera (Spain)
  • Pilar Luna Erreguerena (Mexico)


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