10.10.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Regional advanced course on Underwater Archaeology conducted at Ližnjan, Croatia

©International centre for underwater archaeology in Zadar

An advanced course on underwater archaeology for participants from South-East Europe was conducted during the research of ancient shipwrecks off the cape Uljeva, near Ližnjan (Croatia). 7 young scholars from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro and Slovenia had the opportunity to take specialty courses, to listen to the theoretical presentations by archaeologists and other experts and, to participate in archaeological excavations. The course, organized by the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar (ICUA) with the support of the UNESCO Venice Office, ran over 2 weeks, from 10-22 September 2012.

Archaeologists with a diving experience and basic practical underwater archaeology experience benefitted from this advanced course designed to develop professional skills and capacities in underwater archaeological work and project planning. The course consisted of theoretical and practical (hands-on) instructions in the techniques of underwater archaeological excavation.

ICUA archaeologists and guest lecturers conducted theoretical lectures, complemented by optional courses in specialty diving, according to the requirements of the Scuba Schools International (SSI) system, on the following subjects:

1. SSI: Project safety and logistics

2. Underwater archaeology project planning

3. Introduction in the conservation of underwater finds

4. Underwater documentation II

5. Underwater finds and features II

6. Research and publication of project results

7. 3D survey techniques and digital documentation

The practical part was conducted in the frame of underwater archaeological researches of ancient shipwrecks in the Pula environs, in order to prepare the participants to actively take part as a regular member of an underwater archaeological excavations team. Daily practical exercises foresaw: logistical organization of personal and team equipment; basic boat operations; use of water pump and hoses; underwater use of water dredge in a trench excavation; underwater photo documentation of a trench and a site; lifting of heavy objects from the sea bottom; underwater drawing documentation and post-processing of data; and, packing, labeling and transport of finds.

The course was conducted during the systematic exploration of ancient shipwrecks of the cape Uljeva near Ližnjan, in the southern part of Istria (Croatia). The research, carried out after several years of surveying sea bottom and trial trenching, was devoted to set up a fixed network, to document the site and to excavate the shipwreck. It was led by ICUA experts Luka Bekić and Mladen Pešić, in collaboration with Miran Erič from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (IPCH).

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