Last month I had the great opportunity to present at IKUWA 6 underwater archaeology conference, in association with the University of Southampton, UK (where I was recently awarded my Ph.D). IKUWA 6 is the International Congress of Underwater Archaeology, and one of the largest in the field. This was the first time it was being held outside of Europe, with Australia’s Fremantle (Freo) as the chosen host location for the sixth conference, taking place at the Western Australian Maritime Museum. The conference coincided with the 400th anniversary of the first evidenced European landing in Western Australia undertaken by the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog.
This being also the first time I landed in Australia, I had a few days beforehand with family in Perth to visit the koalas, kangaroos and wallabies roaming around, and enjoy beautiful sandy beaches with the cooling local afternoon breeze known as the Fremantle Doctor.
As the conference unfolded, interesting discussions sparked at the UNESCO Roundtable talks on the first day, with leading experts discussing issues and potential measures to further advocate for the protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. The next series of days exhibited underwater archaeological discoveries emerged from around the world, exploring a wide range of themes and topics, such as navigation and trade, 3D & GIS technology, and the importance of capacity building. These were presented in the form of both talks and posters, providing different interactive ways of engaging with the research (and its researchers). During the IKUWA 6 conference, I co-presented a poster with Steven Lopez titled ‘Sensory Navigation in the Roman Mediterranean: The Levantine & Ionian Seas’, which explored the use of the senses in Roman navigation, drawing on two case-studies. First, a theoretical approach of the Levantine coastline, followed by the practical sailed journey along the Albanian coastline during our 2016 Albanian Marine Science Expedition. See abstract here. Also at IKUWA6, Dr Lucy Blue (University of Southampton & Honor Frost Froundation) presented a discussion on the underwater archaeological survey we undertook in Oman last year and its role in capacity building in the region.
The conference was filled with so many interesting, influential people and groundbreaking research and discoveries, all gathered in an idyllic maritime setting in beautiful Australia!
Thank you IKUWA6 team for hosting such a great conference!