Q&A with experts in the field. INA is a unique international organization working to locate, document, excavate and preserve significant underwater and nautical archaeological sites. Find out how INA researchers are bringing to light those remnants of our collective past.
Getting Involved in Nautical Archaeology
Check out the ins & outs of getting involved with archaeology beneath the waves!> Read More
QUESTION: Is there a possibility of volunteering at one of INA’s excavations as a student?
If you are interested in participating in an excavation, we recommend that you reach out to the director of the project that interests you to ask if you can volunteer. INA projects are listed on our Projects page. Projects will have different needs at various stages. In many cases, be prepared to meet certain qualifications such as specific diving certifications or insurance.
We are always willing to review applications for internships at the Bodrum Research Center (BRC), our affiliated conservation laboratory in Turkey. If you are interested in learning more about the conservation of artifacts recovered from underwater environments, contact the Director of the BRC at email@example.com.
There are a number of other institutions around the world that conduct nautical archaeology research. Check with the museums, historical societies, and universities in your area to see which opportunities are available. A good place to get started is the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) Fieldwork Bulletin, where archaeological field school opportunities for students & volunteers are posted by many projects, both terrestrial and underwater.
Because nautical archaeology is primarily an academic discipline, you can also pursue a degree or take courses at an accredited university or college. If your research interests relate to work that we do, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to collaborate on projects.> Read Less
Saving Cultural Heritage From Treasure Hunters
The depiction of treasure hunters in mainstream media has made it more difficult to separate out the trustworthy archaeologists from those who are not.> Read More
QUESTION: I see a lot of inaccurate information on various diver and “treasure hunter” websites about sovereign immunity, with animosity expressed toward archaeologists, academics, and federal government agencies such as NOAA. Does INA have an outreach program to address any of the misconceptions, and outright falsities stated in such groups, or elsewhere?
The depiction of treasure hunters in mainstream media has made it more difficult to separate out the trustworthy archaeologists from those who are not. Archaeology is about acquiring new knowledge through material culture. INA maintains the highest standards of academic integrity, and therefore we do not associate with anyone in the salvage or treasure-hunting businesses because the profit motive is not conducive to good archaeology. INA projects adhere to the highest scientific and academic standards, meaning only those directed by reputable scholars or affiliated with reputable universities. The information must be made publicly available and artifacts must be preserved for future generations.
The best approach to discouraging the looting of shipwreck or other underwater sites is to arm the public with knowledge. INA has been, and will continue to be, dedicated to public education, sharing resources such as the ICOMOS Charter and Penn-Brock Statement of Principles in our digital Learning Center. INA Archaeologists have even gone head to head in televised debates (such as Discoveries Underwater: Treasure is Trouble). INA publications continue this outreach with articles such as Does Treasure Hunting Make Cents? To make this information accessible to the public.
In a recent interview INA Founder George F. Bass also addressed the topic of misinformation regarding treasure hunters: “Some nations, however, still grant treasure-hunting permits in return for a percentage of the valuable finds. This seldom if ever has worked. Turkey has gained far more monetarily from its laws. The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, for example, when I was last in Turkey sold about 250,000 entry tickets annually for about $10 each, totaling about $2.5 million for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to support other cultural things. Add to that the money spent by museum visitors in Bodrum on souvenirs, meals, taxis, and perhaps even hotels, and the income is surely greater than that other nations have gained from a division of the spoils. Once all nations have learned to appreciate the value of shipwrecks for other than objects to be sold, they will take steps to guard and protect them.”
The cultural heritage hidden beneath the waves belongs to everyone, not just a few, and no matter where you live, your, vocation, or age, there is always something you can do to protect this irreplaceable resource from treasure hunting! Visit and support your local museums, get involved with a national marine sanctuary, learn and share! A great place to start is the Council of American Maritime Museums which includes links to many institutions like INA, who are dedicated to bringing this history to light.> Read Less
Atlast Obscura, By Sarah Laskow July 21, 2016
Dr. Kevin Crisman, director of the Center for Maritime Archaeology & Conservation at Texas A&M University and INA Vice President discusses the accuracy of shipwrecks presented in the Disney 1989 Film The Little Mermaid.
By Kotaro Yamafune June 24, 2016
Take an interactive tour of the Phoenix II shipwreck site. Move around the image and explore!