2017 Maritime Archaeology Field School, Philip Island, Australia
January 27 – 12 February 2017. Flinders University
The Maritime Archaeology Field School (ARCH 8152/ARCH 3309) provides students with an introduction to the techniques of coastal, intertidal and underwater survey, position fixing, mapping, photography, recording and excavation. Some lectures will be provided on the various research methods and techniques used by maritime archaeologists. The Field School will include practical exercises, field work and associated lecture/seminars.
In 2017, the Flinders University Maritime Archaeology Field School will be taught at an undergraduate level (as ARCH 3309) and graduate level (as ARCH 8152). This year the topic will be based at Phillip Island, Victoria, and run in cooperation with Heritage Victoria. Students may investigate a number of maritime sites on land and underwater.
The 2017 Flinders University maritime archaeology field school will include a shipwreck survey of McHaffie Reef plus a study of a land-based survey of maritime infrastructure and coastal and maritime sites of various ages and types.
Maritime archaeologists from Heritage Victoria inspected the McHaffie Reef shipwreck sites in the 1980s and confirmed that one of them dates possibly to the mid 19th century. The vessel’s remains are partially intact, are of wooden construction, and have an estimated length of 20 metres. In 2012, the team relocated the shipwreck site and tentatively identified its remains as from the Leven Lass. The ship ran aground on Phillip Island to save its cargo after the vessel had sprung a leak in 1854. The archaeological evidence, i.e., construction materials, cargo, vessel size, and wrecking location all correspond to evidence gathered during archival research. The goals of the 2017 field school are to map the remains of Leven Lass, and to date, identify, and record other shipwrecks on McHaffie Reef, and facilitate further maritime archaeological studies of Western Port Bay.
Non-diving students enrolled in the 2017 field school will survey and record details of historic maritime sites to be confirmed by Heritage Victoria. An example of a terrestrial sites includes the steel ship Speke. This large, three-masted steel ship capsized on the southwest side of Phillip Island, where its bow is still a prominent feature on the beach. Non-diving students will also participate on shore-based activity working along with divers, and will undergo topside training and education in underwater archaeology in order to familiarise themselves with the process of maritime fieldwork. This will include taking total station points from shore in partnership with the dive and snorkel team.