Sessions for APCONF 2023


1. History and Current Trends of Underwater Archaeology around East Asia

Chair: Prof Akifumi Iwabuchi (Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology).

Co-chair: Dr Kotaro Yamafune (Apparatus, LLC)

East Asia or the Far East, which consists of six states, viz. China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, and Japan, is extremely rich in underwater cultural heritage, such as conventional shipwrecks under the sea, submerged settlement sites on the bottoms of inland lakes and rivers, or prehistoric shell mounds and stone tidal weirs along coastal zones, as well as in traditional ecological knowledge around underwater cultural heritage. Many shipwrecks or their cargos have been discovered by underwater archaeologists one after another in East Asian waters, and each nation has moved forward with its own underwater archaeological policy and numerous underwater projects both on governmental and grassroots levels.  On the other hand, no East Asian country has ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage yet, and the contemporary ocean climate crisis has started casting a gloom over the safeguard of local underwater cultural heritage.  In East Asian cultural zones where Chinese characters are used, the document-based historical study or terrestrial archaeology has a long tradition, which has had a noteworthy impact upon underwater archaeology and its methodology.  Recently, in addition, the technological advancement in underwater survey has remarkably been made; using remote-sensing with satellites, robotics for ROVs or AUVs, or 3D photogrammetry by PC software mitigates or cancels the limitations regarding accessibility and working time caused by underwater environment.  The tie between such modern technologies and traditional archaeology or history has minted new applications and perspectives of underwater cultural heritage study.  The multi-disciplinary or holistic approaches are increasingly more and more necessary among many researchers who are interested in underwater archaeology around East Asia.

2. The maritime landscapes and underwater cultural heritage of Korea

Chair: Yang Soon-seok (National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage)

The central region of the Western Sea in Korea involves the waters of Chungcheong, Gyeonggi and Incheon. These areas are not only the breadbasket of Korea but also the inevitable route heading from Gangjin and Haenam, the most productive areas of Goryeo Celadon, to Gaegyeong, the capital city of Goryeo dynasty, and Hanyang, the capital of Joseon dynasty. This area shows, consequently, intensively-buried underwater cultural heritage, including eight ancient shipwrecks and 35 thousand relevant artifacts. Also, recently, the range of underwater cultural heritage discovered is not just limited to porcelains or shipwrecks, but also to the royal decorative tiles of the early period of  the Joseon Dynasty found in these areas. In the meanwhile, a myriad of underwater cultural heritage was found in the waters of Jeolla, the southern side of the central region of the Western Sea. Foreign shipwrecks represented by Sinan shipwrecks and ceramics and seals in the Song dynasty recovered from Sinchang-ri, Jeju proved active interactions through sea route, in not only the central waters but also the southern side of the Western Sea.

The session expects papers to discuss the matters and to find effective solutions to share this heritage with the public. Topics of interest for this session could be:

– Archaeology and History of Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Central Region of Western Sea, Korea

– Conservation Treatment of Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Central Region of Western Sea, Korea

– Folkloric View of Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Central Region of Western Sea, Korea

– Effective Ways of Usage of Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Central Region of Western Sea, Korea

– Drone Survey on the Intertidal Zone

– Archaeological Survey of Maritime Cultural Heritage through Sinan Shipwreck

– Suggestion of Survey Methods Using High-tech Devices to Overcome Obstacles of Underwater Survey

3. Decade of Action, the call for Oceans’ Past to Bridge our Communities

Chair: Dr Abhirada Komoot (Suvarnabhumi Studies Centre and Thammasat University).

Co-chair: Dr Paul Montgomery (Centre for Environmental Humanities, Trinity College Dublin)

Sustainable Development Goals are big ideas for collective global planning. The ocean is emphasised as an important part of that and recognised as a fast-growing field concerning the challenging of global climate change and harnessing of marine resources. The social aspects of the ocean, though, is not yet a common conversation among maritime scholars in the Asia-Pacific region. The core focus of this session, thus, is how the study of the oceans’ social and economic complex entanglement and history can be related to the improvement of ocean literacy and how maritime knowledge can help make a wider impact.

This session invites scholars and experts to share their hands-on research experience and forward their thinking on the fundamental interactions between humans and the seas, including the non-coastal community. It is to understand how “the oceans have influenced us, and how we have influences on the oceans” in our engaging ways of living with the oceans. To succeed, we need inclusive action from across fields to explore diverse dimensions of what it means to live with the oceans from the past, in the present and carrying on to the future.

This session encourages those who are interested in excavating the knowledge of the Asia-Pacific maritime past and bringing together the academic-driven conversation on the roles of the Asia-Pacific region in maritime connections. Ultimately, it is to ensure that Asia-Pacific maritime heritage is visualised in the global initiative.

4. Underwater Cultural Heritage of World War II in the Asia-Pacific Region: Discoveries, Opportunities & Challenges

Chair: Dr Alexis Catsambis (Underwater Archaeology Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, U.S. Navy)

Maritime heritage resources associated with the Second World War remain ever-present across the Asia-Pacific Region. Recent surveys and investigations have led to a series of prominent discoveries, whereas advanced archaeological documentation efforts have contributed to renewed interpretations of events and engagements. World War II era underwater cultural heritage resources have often grown to also inhabit the space of natural resources, and are at times threatened by environmental and human impacts. Concurrently, extant environmental hazards or unexploded ordnance associated with these resources can in turn make them a threat to their immediate environments or to public safety. Weaved through this narrative is a complex legal, cultural, value, and identity framework, within which heritage managers attempt to preserve the past, while responding to the needs of the present. This session aims to put forward a series of case studies that delve into these discoveries, opportunities, and challenges, while highlighting and advancing regional shared approaches to underwater heritage management and interpretation.

5. New Research Findings of Archaeological Ceramics from the Maritime Cultural Heritage of the Asia-Pacific Region

Chair: Atthasit Sukkham (Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Bangkok University)


Prof Wong Wai-yee Sharon (Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Dr Bobby Orillaneda (National Museum of the Philippines)

This session discusses recent research findings in archaeological ceramics from the maritime cultural heritage of the Asia-Pacific region. Ceramics are a valuable means that embody the interconnections in maritime trading networks and social relations while negotiating transcultural forces. We invite papers that report new research findings on ceramic artefacts investigated or excavated from archaeological sites from the maritime cultural heritage within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as those that have been exchanged across long distances between neighbouring regions. We also encourage papers on ceramic topics, including issues in globalization, climate change, and human migration, interpreted through interdisciplinary methods and bring new understanding related to ceramic production, technological and economic dynamics, exchange, value, and reuse, among others.

6. Lashed-lug boats: Emerging research from Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Chair: Prof Ligaya Lacsina (University of the Philippines)


Agni Mochtar (University of Naples)

Pierre-Yves Manguin (Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient)

There is currently a growing body of research related to lashed-lug boat construction in Southeast Asia and the Pacific and is a welcome trend in a region where nautical studies have lagged. Though material evidence suggests that the persistence of the lashed-lug boatbuilding tradition extends back to at least 1,500 years, researchers are beginning to appreciate the unique qualities of each example within this distinctive tradition, which has managed to survive to this day albeit in greatly diminished numbers. The time-consuming process of lashed-lug boat construction in which no metal fastenings are used involves considerable wastage and requires a mastery of skills gained over many years likely passed through generations. Yet the practice has until recently escaped the level of scrutiny directed at the production of other artifact types, even other watercraft construction techniques, despite the availability of material evidence. As interest grows and new studies of this particular regional tradition arise, the opportunity to gather new insights in this developing field of study cannot be ignored.

This session aims to link research from across the region that can highlight aspects of lashed-lug boats that are still poorly understood. Apart from the obvious construction feature for which it is named, the oft described perforated lugs carved from planks to which ligatures secure frames and other boat parts, it is worth comparing plank fastening techniques, lashing patterns, tree species used, bow and stern structures, and other observable qualities that can help inform us about similarities and variations in this tradition. We welcome papers that discuss the latest findings related to lashed-lug boats and their construction, which advance our knowledge and help map future directions in the study of boatbuilding traditions as a significant part of maritime heritage.

7. Trade goods in shipwrecks – sources, routes and markets, including glass on the Maritime Silk Road


Arsenio Nicolas (College of Music, Mahasarakham University, Thailand)

Seongsil Kim (Peking University, Seoul Museum of History)

The variety of objects excavated in the hundreds of shipwrecks in maritime Asia consists of, among others, ceramics and tradeware, currency, elephant tusks, resin, figurines, ritual vessels, stupika and votive tablet moulds, mirrors, stone implements, ceramic moulds, gold artefacts, beads, alloys, tin, lead, bronze and silver ingots, ironware, glassware, organic materials, ritual implements such as vajra sceptre, ghanta and other bells, khakkhara, conch shells, pellet bells, and musical instruments such as gongs and cymbals.  In the many studies and descriptions of shipwrecks, the sources, routes and markets of these artefacts, trade goods, or commodities have been identified and yet there are still lacunae in some of the trajectories of their final destination at the time of their discharge from the ships and ports. Documents contemporaneous with the ship’s dated wreck are possible sources of how these artefacts have found their way to the first users, and possibly, subsequent users.   While these documents may be scanty and rare, one final destination of these objects is today, in the hands of collectors and museums.  This session invites paper proposals that describe and trace the routes of movements of shipwreck artefacts from the port to their users, not limited to the date of the wreck and but continues on to the path from one user to another over time, even towards the contemporary period.  Some examples that can be explored are big glazed jars that are used for rice wine storage, plates and bowls that are used as grave paraphernalia, and ritual implements that are today part of religious rites. The session will also have a special focus on various glass relics have been discovered as many countries have actively excavated and investigated important urban remains related to the maritime Silk Road.

8. Nodes, Networks and Processes: cultural interactions and archaeological perspectives in the Asia-Pacific region 

Chair: Dr Wijerathne Bohingamuwa (Department of History and Archaeology, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka)


Dr V. Selvakumar (Department of Archaeology, History, Prehistory and Maritime Archaeology, Tamil University, Tanjore, India).

Prof Kaushik Gangopadhy (Department of archaeology, University of Calcutta, West Bengal, India)

Dr Bobby Orillaneda (Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division, National Museum of the Philippines)

Interactions between the cultures of Asia and the Pacific may have begun as early as the prehistoric period. These regions were connected by both land and maritime routes. Cultural interactions became intense beginning in the late first millennium BCE as ideologies, traders, commodities, and material culture moved across the region. These interactions had a significant and lasting impact on culture-historical developments in the region. Ports and urban centres became the nodes connecting the networks of settlements across this region. A number of ports as well as coastal and interior urban centres in the region have revealed the material culture and evidence of ideological interactions to the west and east of the Indian Ocean. This session examines the cultural interactions between Asia and the Pacific from prehistoric times to 1900 CE. The cultural and commercial nodes acted as markets, production centres, ports, religious centres that linked the hinterland and foreland networks. Papers focusing on the settlement nodes, networks, processes, material cultural studies, navigation, and ideological interactions within the period mentioned above are welcome.

9. Underwater cultural heritage of the Indian Ocean Region

Chair: Sila Tripati (Technical Officer Marine Archaeology)

Indian Ocean Region has several distinctive characteristics, which are known from archaeological and other records, and served as a corridor for migration of cultural contacts between the Indian Ocean people and neighbour regions. In order to understand the ancient times interactions between the people of this region many institutes and organisations undertaking research and the outcome is very crucial. The underwater cultural heritage of mankind such as shipwrecks, submerged ports, habitation, landscape, aircrafts, etc. is lying on the seabed which should be preserved for posterity. The theme entitled underwater cultural heritage of the Indian Ocean Region includes the contacts of the people of this region through the centuries. The session could include underwater findings such as shipwrecks, submerged ports and cultural landscapes, etc. With this background, the proposed session – Underwater and maritime archaeology in South Asia (The Indian Ocean Region) – intends to build cooperation among the Indian Ocean countries on research, protection and preservation of UCH, documentation of evidence of indigenous communities, capacity building activities in underwater and maritime archaeology of this region. In this session, it is proposed to invite presentations on the research carried out on

     (i) underwater and maritime archaeology of this region,

     (ii) problems, challenges and opportunities faced by the Indian Ocean Region on UCH

     (iii) collaboration on research and capacity building in this field.

10. Comprehension of Traditional Ships in East Asia

Chair: Hong Sun Jae (National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage)

Archaeological materials, including shipwrecks and their components of various periods, have been recovered around oceans, rivers, lakes and seas. However, they are limited and not to be able to share the information of original shapes, because be documented as a form of reports split into various research institutes. In addition, in the case of being recovered with a variety of artifacts, they have been processed in conservation treatments for a long time, which takes ten to twenty years. For that long period of time, the shipwrecks are not to be displayed to the public. While the consistent research subjects to the potteries recovered from shipwrecks and the conservation treatments, the research about shipwrecks is lack of research, which resulted from the lack of experts.

So far, besides the fact that the value of archaeological materials recovered and excavated in Korea is not shared well, traces of the maritime silk road in Asia including China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc. is not well contributed, due to diplomatic issues, sociocultural academic atmosphere and so on. A basic study and its outcomes will be needed to relieve these issues. The session aims to share the fruits of research of institutes or individuals around the world, furthermore, and to strengthen the exchange of human resources.

The session aims to spread the fruits of progressed research and share the ideas with researchers from Asia and Pacific regions:

– Designing the Reconstruction of the Shipwreck of Goryeo Dynasty and Its Analysis in a Shipbuilding Engineering Way

– Study of Panok ship, the Warship of Joseon Dynasty

– Comparison with Traditional Ships of East Asia

– Research Cases of Ancient Shipwrecks with Recovery of Artifacts

11. Sticks, Stones, & Old Fish Bones: The Role and Cultural Heritage of Fish Weir Traditions in the Asia-Pacific Region

Chair: Dr Paul Montgomery (Centre for Environmental Humanities, Trinity College Dublin)

Co-chair: Prof Bill Jeffery (University of Guam)

Fish Weirs represent one of the most enduring and consistently occurring tools of capture across the spectrum of human activity within across the globe and particularly the Asia Pacific region. Fish Weirs appear in a range of forms adapted to the local marine ecology and shaped by human interaction with the natural world. Within this story, built in both stone and wood, they have appeared in the archaeological record of nearly every coastal community around the globe as part of their wider subsistence and resilient approach to living in balance and harmony with the natural and spiritual world. Their historical importance is not just as a tool of capture for the acquisition of protein, but they have played an important social and cultural function for indigenous communities.

This session invites researchers and scholars interested in both the complex cultural heritage and context of fishing and fish weirs to share their perspectives on its place within the local maritime and cultural landscape. The session will bring to the fore the intrinsic commonalities and the emerging climate change driven challenges to communities across the Asia Pacific region. It will provide a venue for debate of their intrinsic value to modern science as well as a repository of cultural traditions which interwoven with the history communities and local ecology through this activity. This session will attempt to bring aspects of both indigenous folklore, archaeological and historical evidence for this activity within the Asia Pacific region as well as encourage a fusion of non-indigenous evidence in the form of art, cartography and European exploration narratives which recorded many of these traditions in their first interaction with the indigenous community of the region.

12. The Archaeology of the Manila Galleon at the APCONF: past, present and new interpretations.


Dr Jose L Casaban (Institute of Nautical Archaeology)       

Dr Roberto Junco (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia)  

Co-chair: Dr Jun Kimura  (Department of Maritime Civilizations at Tokai University)

The archaeology of the Manila galleons has been present at the APCONF since 2011. For over a decade, the APCONF has served as a platform for researchers of the Asia Pacific region to disseminate the results of their investigations regarding the archaeology and history of the Manila Galleon. In addition, several research projects have taken place since 2011, furthering our knowledge regarding the archaeology of Manila Galleon. The aim of this session is to examine the current state of the research on this topic and to reformulate traditional interpretations based on the latest advances in the archaeology and history of the Manila Galleon.



13. Major Threats to Underwater Cultural Heritage


Ole Varmer (The Ocean Foundation)

Dr Elena Perez-Alvaro (ICUCH/Nelson Mandela University/UNIR)

A major focus of the 2001 Convention was to prevent the application of the Law of Finds and the Law of Salvage and control of activities directed at UCH through the Annex Rules and General Principles. Much progress has been made on that front.  This session seeks to shine a light on the threats to underwater cultural heritage from Deep Seabed Mining, Bottom Trawling and other issues such as Climate Change that are major threats to our Ocean Heritage (natural and cultural).

14. Conservation Treatment of Underwater Cultural Heritage

Chair: Bo-hyun Lee (First National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage) 

A variety of artifacts have been recovered from underwater, including metal, pottery, stone, timber, etc., like what have been found on land. In 2013, the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage(NRIMCH) published “Conservation Manual of Maritime Archaeological Objects in Korea”, noting conservation treatment on site and conservation manual according to the materials. “The Conservation of Ceramics Excavated from Underwater” and “The Conservation of Shipwrecks Excavated from Underwater” were published in 2020 and 2021, respectively, both of which are intensively dealing with cases of conservation treatment of underwater cultural heritage, based on its materials. In addition, outcomes of research have been shared with other domestic researchers, with publications of overall reports about experiment results on Sinan shipwreck project.

Despite of the fame of being the one and only institute dealing with underwater cultural heritage in Korea, however, the NRIMCH is lack of sharing and communication of international cooperation of research or cases of material-based conservation treatment. The session, therefore, hopes to be the place to share and compare the cases of conservation treatment of underwater cultural heritage around Asia-Pacific regions by various conservation experts.



15. The Archaeology of Submerged Landscapes and Inland Waters

Chair: Shinatria Adhityatama (School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University, Australia)    

The   study of underwater archaeology at this time has developed rapidly into a separate study that is not necessarily always related to the study of maritime archaeology. Underwater archaeology is not constrained by periodization because it can be studied in a wide time span from prehistoric times to the modern era.  The development of underwater archaeological research today is not only centered on shipwreck objects but on broader domains such as issues of geomorphology, climate change to natural disaster. One of the studies that is currently developing is the study of submerged landscapes, submerged indigenous sites and places where people once lived or visited that have been subsequently covered by water due to rising sea water levels caused by climate change, natural disasters, or other causes in an  area  that  sink  an archaeological  site. The submerged landscape not only submerged archaeological sites on vast flat plains but also in sunken dwellers caves. Today, underwater archaeological archaeology is not only carried out in the sea but is often found of interesting and important archaeological sites for human history in the inland environment as in lakes, rivers, canals and cenotes. This session aims to explore and become a medium of sharing between researchers who study underwater archaeology at submerged landscape sites and also in the aquatic environment in inland for development and gaining the attention of the underwater archaeological community. In this session, the researchers were able to present their discoveries and experiences working in submerged landscape sites such as settlement sites, underwater caves, and so on to the archaeological sites in inland aquatic environment such as in lakes, rivers, canals, cenotes in Asia-Pacific region. Hopefully, this session can be a place for discussion, exploration and development of this archaeological study in the future.             

16. The significance of Maritime Cultural Landscapes, Seascapes and Living Heritage in Oceania

Chairs: Prof Bill Jeffery (University of Guam, Micronesia)  

Chair: Veronica Walker Vadillo (University of Helsinki)  

Co-chairs: Dr Hans Van Tilburg (NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Hawaii; Sunny Ngirmang, Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation, Palau)

Victoria Ramenzoni (Rutgers University)

Oceania covers the largest expanse of seawater on the planet. People living in the Pacific Ocean, quickly gained a reputation and identity as “sea people.” They developed an intimate and enduring connection with their islands and the marine world, much of which remains evident today in the maritime cultural landscapes and seascapes of the region. Many cultural practices and living heritage (intangible cultural heritage) developed in relationship with the marine environment, often inseparable from cultural identity for Pacific Islanders. Pacific cultural resources, practices, and heritage have been subject to modernizing influences, development, wartime impacts, tourism, and other challenges. Today these resources and practices are also increasingly subject to the effects of climate change impacts. 

The arrival of foreigner voyagers into the Pacific beginning in 1521 brought significant cultural, economic and political changes, and introduced new maritime practices and platforms as well. Pacific Islanders remained resilent in face of this colonialism and neo-colonialism, and adapted new tools and practices that remain relevant to islanders today.

This session will explore this broad and complex range of traditional Indigenous maritime heritage and the more recently introduced maritime heritage, by inviting Pacific Island communities, scholars, government agencies, and any other interested groups and indivuals to contribute. It is possible to explore these changes to themes, technologies and cultural practices through many of the remaining resource sites and ongoing Living Heritage, revealing the continuing significance of maritime cultural heritage to Pacific Islanders.

Smallness is a state of mind. With these words, Epeli Hau’ofa (1994: 152) challenged the widely extended notion that islands are small, remote, isolated, and peripheral. Instead, he proposed we “focus on the holistic perspective in which things are seen in the totality of their relationships” (ibid.). This panel pays homage to Epeli Hau’ofa and explores new approaches to the study of islands, expanding his vision – which referred to Oceania – to insular spaces across the Asia-Pacific region. The panel also aims to bring together papers discussing the construction of island identities and connectivity using novel approaches, especially those rooted in the study of socio-ecological systems and the establishment of shared customary practices. The session encourages interdisciplinary approaches and invites submissions from relevant disciplines such as maritime archaeology, cognitive archaeology, ethnography, behavioural ecology, and so on. Understanding maritime networks connecting insular regions is of particular interest to the conveners, especially those that explore networks established by phenomena other than trade, for example, via livelihood activities like fishing, via exploratory voyages, or via religious pilgrimages, as well as local perceptions of watery spaces.


Epeli Hau’ofa, 1994. Our Sea of Islands, The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 6 (1): 148-161.



17. The 2001 Convention: from ‘constructive ambiguities’ to ‘destructive misunderstandings’

Chair: Mariano Aznar (Universitat Jaume I de Castelló)

Underwater cultural heritage is under the umbrella of an international legislative instrument: the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. However, regional approaches to underwater cultural heritage may vary, with different ethical concerns and different threats.

The objective of this session is becoming the arena where experts can share their experiences on applying this legal framework. Participants of this session will focus on the legal aspects of underwater cultural heritage, the ethics and values of the Asia-Pacific countries in relation to underwater cultural heritage and the difficulties of these countries in applying the 2001 UNESCO Convention. This session hopes to host papers as well as to produce a roundtable.

18. Revisiting the UNESCO Foundation and Advanced Courses for Asia-Pacific: Status, Development, and Challenges

Chair: Bobby C. Orillaneda (National Museum of the Philippines)  

Co-chair: Nia Naelul Hasanah Ridwan (Research Institute for Coastal Resources and Vulnerability, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Indonesia)

From 2009-2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sponsored a series of Foundation and Advanced Courses aimed at developing capacities for Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) in the Asia-Pacific region. The venue was at the Regional Training Centre on Underwater Archaeology in Chanthaburi, Thailand under the auspices of the Underwater Archaeology Division of Thailand. The courses produced 76 graduates from 17 countries in Asia, Pacific, and Africa. The program culminated in the First Regional Academic Conference on the Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage held at the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila, in November 2011. Another landmark achievement is the publication of the Training Manual for the UNESCO Foundation Course on the Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific.

This session invites Foundation and Advance Course graduates to present on the impact of the Courses for the participating countries. Among the topics that could be discussed include: What is the current status and development of maritime archaeology and the protection and preservation of UCH in each participants’ country? Were there maritime archaeology projects launched as a result of the Courses? Did the UNESCO Courses result in discussions and positive steps in ratifying the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage?



19. Database, monitoring, non-intrusive documentation techniques and new technologies applied to underwater cultural heritage


Dr Felipe Cerezo Andreo (Coordinator of the Nautical and Underwater Archaeology Program. University of Cadiz – Spain. ICOMOS)  

Dr Andy Viduka (Australian Government – Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water

Co-chair: Dr Martijn Manders (Kingdom of the Netherlands Government – Cultural Heritage Agency and University of Leiden)

Since the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Heritage, more and more researchers are developing a non-intrusive approach to their work.

To follow the principles of “Conservation in situ as first option”, “limiting impact” and “prioritising non-destructive methods”, many researchers are working to develop the innovative methodology based on obtaining the maximum achievable information while causing the lowest possible impact. The combination with the accelerated progress of new technologies results on a rich field of knowledge and research in which we must share our experiences and learn from each other. Non-intrusive methods based on new technologies have not only proved to be very useful for documentation and research, but also for the dissemination and enhancement of the UCH, making it accessible to all the people to whom it belongs, even those who cannot enjoy it in situ. These techniques are also fundamental in meeting the challenge of Challenge 8 of the Decade of the Oceans, “Creating a digital representation of the ocean”, a point emphasized by UNESCO.

This session’s purpose is also to encourage discussion around the use of relational databases to manage underwater cultural heritage sites and their capacity to facilitate shared heritage management outcomes, promote systematic data entry, collate data from remote-sensing activities, become regional research tools, and to enable site specific reporting of condition change from cultural activity or natural events. Opportunity will exist for speakers to highlight their need for a database, to discuss existing systems and their functionalities and issues, or to propose common database fields that could be used to promote UCH research outcomes during the Ocean Decade 2021-2030 and to better enable understanding of the impact of climate change on underwater cultural heritage.



20. Effective Ways to Deliver Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage

Chair: Jongkuk Shin (National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage)  

Only a wide variety of understandings of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage can constantly continue protection and research of them. To the non-expert communities, especially, it is unfamiliar theme hard to comprehend, which makes necessity of productive ways to convey them, such as display and education. Thus, this session aims to share the experience of various institutes or individuals, and, furthermore, discusses the effective ways for it.

Diverse and effectual ways to deliver by information technology (IT) that have been developed and utilized are easier to be applied to the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage. It is because virtual experience is simple to convey the atmosphere of sea or underwater which is barely accessible to common people.

Thus, this session will discuss creative ideas for effective delivery of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage, including traditional display and education, publication of booklets, promotion through social media and ICT or videos that has been conducted in museums or relevant institutes.

Some examples could be:

–           Display of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage

–           Education on Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage

–           Promotion of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage

–           Creating contents of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage

–           How to use ICT for Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage

21. New Technologies and Interdisciplinary Strategies for the Promotion and Protection of Maritime Cultural Heritage

Chair: Panos Tzovaras (University of Southampton, Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) – Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI))  

Co-chair: Dimitrios Karampas (University of Oxford, Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (OCMA)

The investigation of Maritime Cultural Landscape via the analysis of shipwrecks, harbours, and of coasts has always been a challenging expedition for maritime archaeologists, who have constantly applied new methods and techniques to advance the constructive interpretation of the extant evidence, aiming for a deeper understanding of the relationship between humans and the sea. In the last decade, a great range of new technological and technical features have been introduced, focusing on both the analysis and preservation of the submerged human past. As such, the preservation and documentation of our cultural heritage are of the utmost importance. Due to environmental or human agencies, these monuments are at constant risk. Additionally, landscape erosion and sea-level change threaten their integrity, making the need for novel, non-destructive methodological frameworks of analysis and recording vital. Hence, the sites’ intertemporal character, in conjunction with their fragility, requires an interdisciplinary approach and innovative way of recording.

In this session, we welcome papers focusing on the development of research in the Maritime Archaeology of the Asia-Pacific region via interdisciplinary methods through the application of new means of technology. For instance, the exploitation of tools offered by other sciences that can be applied in maritime contexts concerning the preservation of underwater and maritime cultural heritage, excavation and research of submerged sites, wrecks etc., reconstruction techniques and so forth. More specifically, this session aims to explore and promote new methodological approaches and provide a conducive environment for the discussion and research on this gradually developing field

22. Underwater Cultural Heritage and Maritime Museums 

Chair: Dr Vishi Upadhyay (Bihar Museum, India)   


Dr Arjun R.  (Central University of Karnataka, India)

Moumita Dhar (National Museum, India)

The submerged sites and their cultural materials in the riverscapes and oceanscapes are less studied than the surface sites in Asia. It is primarily due to the methodological differences, high expenses in prospecting for sites and retrieving cultural materials to research. Underwater Archaeology is largely believed to have centred on deep dive activities in the waters. This thought process has overshadowed potential studies in maritime trade, marine technology, port sites, cultural materials, inland trade supplementing for overseas exchanges, and the whole urbanisation process surrounding it. Museums and educational institutions have systematic role play to enhance awareness of underwater archaeology. Maritime Museums play a vital role in the restitution and presentation of noteworthy marine artefacts alongside recounting remarkable marine events. Maritime museums have more significant challenges than other kinds of museums due to conservation issues of objects. Conserving those in precise environmental conditions and making them accessible to visitors in an interactive way is an uphill task.

The session invites researchers on different aspects of 1) strategies for underwater cultural heritage conservation and awareness activities, 2) maritime museum designing on the sustainable model and exhibition techniques and 3) exploring challenges and issues in practising underwater archaeology and the site museums for effective dissemination. 4. Offshore/ Other/ General museums holding objects related to Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH)/ Maritime Heritage, recent initiatives, challenges, and possibilities such as constructing the narratives of UCH, interpretation, documentation, digital representation etc.

23. Collections-based Research

Chair: Dr Jennifer Craig (APConf Organizing Committee member)  

In collections-based research we turn to existing museum collections; no single site or settlement could reveal this complex story. The collections used in our research were generated over a period of decades, beginning as early as antiquity and continuing right on through to the present, each with its own history of creation. Some of the collections were generated by academic institutions, some by museums, and some by not-for-profit organizations. As varied as these collections are, the comparative perspective our projects require reveal relationships among these sites that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

As more archaeologists around the world study this way, new ideas, new approaches and theories develop. What are the current case studies in the Asia Pacific Region? In this region, with our maritime/underwater perspective, what epistemologies do we bring to collections-based research?

24. Recovering dispersed and salvaged legacy collections of UCH in Southeast Asia

Chair: Dr Martin Polkinghorne (Flinders University)  


Dr Wendy Van Duivenvoorde (Flinders University)

Zainab Tahir (Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan / Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries)

Nia Naelul Hasanah Ridwan (Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan / Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries)

Dr Natali Pearson (The University of Sydney)

Dr Mark Staniforth (Flinders University)

Notwithstanding the near-universal acknowledgement of the urgent necessity to protect material cultural heritage, it continues to be destroyed and exchanged for commercial gain. To mitigate cultural loss, the management and trade of material cultural heritage is governed by international and country-specific laws. However, these laws are enforced with irregularity, limited jurisdiction, and criteria that often does not account for local contexts. In Southeast Asia, decades of poorly conceived and implemented legislation has facilitated the removal of vast quantities of Underwater Cultural Heritage from the sea without application of systematic archaeological protocols. These objects have been alienated from their archaeological and historical contexts and their present custodians can only appreciate their aesthetic and economic qualities. Drawing attention to the implications of problematic salvage is a critical step toward better management outcomes. This session invites papers that consider how these issues might be explored by generating knowledge from dispersed and salvaged legacy collections of UCH from Southeast Asia.

25. Environmental implications of underwater cultural heritage degradation and the conservation of marine ecosystems

Chair: Dr. Bishnu Pada Bose (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India)

Co-chair: Moumita Dhar (National Museum New Delhi)

Plastic pollution in the marine environment threatens marine ecosystems, maritime cultural heritage, and damages marine biodiversity. The economic activities of native and indigenous communities of the coastal areas are mainly oceans based. The presence of plastic waste in marine ecosystems has become a source of negative impacts on the local, native, and indigenous communities and individuals. It is essential and highly urgent to conserve marine ecology and heritage, and improve maritime cultural heritage sustainability. Another issue is the direct effects on marine ecosystems and heritage by unmanaged dredged sediments (DS) have been well documented. Protecting marine ecosystems and conserving maritime heritage are crucial challenges to managing tourism and seaborne trade. These ports must maintain the proper navigable depth to stay operational through the routine dredging process. Worldwide, abundances of sediments are the outcome of the routine dredging process.

There is overlap between the information required by archaeologists, environmental scientists and those physically managing the environmental and safety risks associated with underwater cultural heritage. This session aims to bring these diverse stakeholders together to facilitate dialogue and design ways of working together that maximizes benefit from each sector.

26. General session


Dr Carlota Perez-Reverte (Universidad de Cadiz) 

Dr Elena Perez-Alvaro (Nelson Mandela University/UNIR) 

This session will include papers of many different disciplines in order to create a holistic perspective of the several topics of the APConf.