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Activities with Micronesia


Underwater Archaeological Fieldschools, Guam

Status: Complete

Duration: 2009-2012

Partners: Guam Preservation Trust (GPT), Micronesian Area Research Centre (MARC), University of Guam, Flinders University South Australia


First Season: 2010

The Guam Preservation Trust (GPT) had identified maritime archaeology as a key topic to focus upon in regards to Guam's maritime and underwater cultural heritage. CIE member Dr Bill Jeffrey organised a fieldschool in collaboration with the University of Guam and MARC, the first course running in July 2010. The selected students came from Guam, Australia, the Phillippines, Hawaii, the USA and Canada. 


The course was organised to begin with classroom based work, providing the theoretical framework for the practical sessions and including the techniques required to implement the initial phases of maritime archaeology. The students were taught the basics about non-disturbance surveys and how to recode and document the results. They also covered best-practices in maritime archaeology at both national and international levels, in-situ management of sites, as well as artefact care and conservation. 


The students were then taken out into the field, to record and document an American landing craft dating to the World War Two invasion around the beach at Agat.


Second Season: 2011

Following the success of the first fieldschool, a second season was run the following July. This fieldschool saw CIE member Dr Bill Jeffrey giving NAS Part 2 training as a survey project. The participants were required implement a non-disturbance site survey project and compile a report. The students surveyed the selected sites of the Seabee Junk Yard in Apra Harbour, a World War Two landing craft at Agat and an unidentified aircraft dating to World War Two at Agat.


In addition to this, two NAS Part 3 courses were also implemented. The first 'Managing Archaeological Projects' aimed to provide an introduction to the range of activities, processes and outcomes required to develop, implement and manage an underwater archaeology project. This course consisted of a half-day workshop and supervision of 3 days non-disturbance surveying.


The second NAS Part 3 course, 'Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Tourism', introduced the students to a number of sites, issues and approaches relating to underwater archaeology with tourist potential in Guam. Tourism can help to raise awareness of the values of sites and help to engage communities whilst also providing spin-off effects such as economic and social benefits. Yet this also needs effective management, with people who have training in how to handle these effects. The course consisted of diving different underwater sites, compiling data during the dive to discuss at a workshop. Two sites were selected to work on; a World War One German cruiser cormorant, and the Tokai Maru- a World War Two Japanese converted freighter, which lay on the seabed touching one another, reputed to be the only place in the world where this occurs. 


Third Season: 2012

These activities were extended for a further season in the summer of 2012, continuing the survey work and training in underwater archaeological investigation with the underwater cultural heritage field school in Guam. This year was once again led by CIE's Dr Bill Jeffrey, with a record number of participants attending. 


The first part of the fieldschool involved the recording and documentation of traditional fish weirs (gigao), and learning more about the chamorro customs and cultural practices. This was followed by the diving and recording of a selection of underwater sites mainly dating to World War Two. A workshop was also organised to round off the activities, to discuss the issues of underwater cultural heritage tourism in Guam. 


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