The third Maritime Archaeology Graduate Symposium was held at Worcester College, University of Oxford from the 22nd – 23rd February 2020 and organised by our Oxford University Scholars, Nesrine A. El-Galy and Achilles Iasonos. The Foundation awarded three bursaries for participants from the eastern Mediterranean to attend and present at the conference. Below is a report from the MAGS committee and a summary of the reports from the three bursary recipients. A series of short reports have also been published and can be found here
This two-day conference reached out to an audience of seventy early career researchers from ten different countries and fifteen different institutions and provided the opportunity for nineteen early career researchers to present their work. The conference also provided a platform for this community to forge bonds of friendship between places and institutions and to create academic and personal networks that will serve them into the future as they progress in their careers.
The presentations were divided into four broad thematic units: Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH); Ships & Shipwrecks; Boat Models & Anchors; Harbours & Maritime Activities. Each addressed the sub-discipline and its various branches from a holistic, interdisciplinary perspective. The geographical scope of the conference was focused primarily on the eastern Mediterranean, alongside a smaller number from further afield to add important wider perspective and views of how maritime research is being conducted elsewhere. The presenters addressed key topics related to legislation, remote sensing, conservation, management, public outreach, maritime archaeology theory, ship technology, naval architecture, harbour studies, anchor studies and archaeometry. The emerging concepts and ideas from each presentation where further discussed and expanded in five roundtable discussions. This was with the input of two directors of maritime archaeology research centres, Damian Robinson and Emad Khalil, two directors working for the Foundation, Lucy Blue and Lucy Semaan and one member of the HFF steering committee, Antony Firth. Additionally, we were also honoured by the participation of one of the pioneers of maritime studies, David Blackman, who chaired a session and contributed to a roundtable discussion.
Our keynote speaker Antony Firth spoke about the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and how cultural heritage can benefit from the funding available to help deliver the objectives of the Decade. On the second day of the conference, our mentors Emad Khalil and Lucy Semaan shared insights about the role of the Foundation in Egypt and Lebanon respectively, informing presenters and attendees about research directions relevant to the Foundation’s agenda. Over these two days, young researchers were given the opportunity to receive guidelines, discuss and brainstorm ideas with our mentors, which will hopefully inspire them to the small grants and scholarships schemes provided by the Foundation and begin to deliver new and innovative research in the eastern Mediterranean. The organising committee felt that our keynote speaker, as well as our mentors and roundtable discussions, provided a highly interactive and thought-provoking outcome of academic insights, funding and networking opportunities.
BAR Publishing and the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) had display stands and kindly shared advice and insights with attendees and presenters. Peta Knott from the NAS also gave a presentation about ‘What the NAS can do for you!’ highlighting its role in providing fieldwork opportunities for younger scholars to take active steps into actively participating in maritime research and in publishing its outcomes.
The MAGS2020 committee would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended and presented at the symposium and made MAGS2020 a unique academic experience. Thank you!