Maritime archaeology is the study of the material remains of people and their activities on, under, near or associated with the sea. Archaeological sites can include the remains of ships (shipwrecks), boats (boat finds) or other watercraft, aircraft that are under water, and any cultural material dropped, lost or deliberately deposited in the water. Maritime archaeology can also examine sites or remains that are completely dry, like lighthouses, harbour constructions, shore-based maritime industries (sealing and whaling), shipwreck shelter huts, houses of refuge, and lifesaving stations.

The Department of Archaeology at Flinders University has taught maritime archaeology at undergraduate level since 1996 and at postgraduate level since 2002. The Graduate Program in Maritime Archaeology was established in 2002 and is now the largest and most successful of its kind in Australia. It is rated as one of the top six programs in the world.

Our program has two academic staff, adjunct staff, and a technical officer, as well as PhD students (on scholarships) who also work part-time in the program. The Graduate Program currently has approximately 35 graduate students and has drawn students from many different countries (including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Africa, UK, and the USA). Graduates of the program are now working for underwater cultural heritage management agencies, museums and consultancy companies as well as studying and teaching at universities, both in Australia and overseas.

Dedicated topics in maritime archaeology at Flinders include:

ARCH2204   Australian Maritime Archaeology
ARCH2211   Ships and Seafaring in the Indian Ocean
ARCH3208   History, Theory and Issues in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology
ARCH8150   Maritime Archaeology in Australia
ARCH8151   History, Theory and Issues in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology GE
ARCH8152   Maritime Archaeological Field School
ARCH8153   The Archaeology of Submerged Landscapes
ARCH8154   Underwater Cultural Heritage: Legislation, Management and Interpretation
ARCH8155   The Archaeology of Seafaring
ARCH8156   Advanced Maritime Archaeology Fieldwork Practicum
ARCH8157   Methods in Underwater Archaeology
ARCH8158   Ships: Research, Recording and Reconstruction
ARCH8159   Maritime Archaeology Fieldwork Practicum
ARCH8160   Ships and Seafaring in the Indian Ocean

For more information about studying maritime archaeology at Flinders please contact the program coordinator in maritime archaeology Dr Wendy van Duivenvoorde.

See a movie clip of students communicating underwater.

Communicating under water (WMV 991KB)

See a movie clip of students mapping underwater.

Underwater mapping (WMV 534KB)

 Further information on the program

  • Please click here to access further information on the Flinders University website about the Master of Maritime Archaeology.
  • Please click here to access further information on the Flinders University website about the Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology.
  • Please click here to access further information on the Flinders University website about the Graduate Certificate in Maritime Archaeology.

Further information on diving

  • Please click here to access information on the Flinders University Diving Requirements.