Previous Scholarship Recipients


Toni Massey and Jodi Salmond: Reefs on the Wrecks in Southeast Queensland- A collaborative project

Today, one of the most pressing concerns facing heritage and park managers is how to protect shipwrecks from environmental threats such as sedimentation from catchments, coastal development and climate change. With pressures from a rapidly growing population, rising sea temperature and extreme weather events, Southeast Queensland (SEQ) is gaining recognitions as a “Hope Spot” - a special place scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean and an important area to study and protect. SEQ is also home to approximately 120 historic shipwrecks, sunken aircraft and other UCH sites lying submerged on the seabed. With limited funding, staffing, and resources in Qld, new and innovative approaches to protecting these significant wrecks and coral reefs is critical. Through collaboration with Reef Check Australia and University of Queensland, this project aims to combine ideas, efforts and resources toward impactful action to monitor and survey historic shipwrecks, coral reefs and the ocean. This project will use Reef Check scientific reef monitoring and survey methods and techniques to record local coral reefs on shipwrecks and surrounding areas. Data collected will including corals, invertebrates, fish and key indicator species as well as archaeological research of historic shipwrecks. Together, we believe this local area is important ecologically, economically, and historically; therefore, ongoing wreck and reef health monitoring is critical to understanding changes over time in this area.

Philippe Kermeen and Chelsea Wiseman: Fastest shipwreck of South Australia, SS Admella- how historical steamship structural competency can be observable in a shallow dynamic environment.

SS Admella was a Clyde steamship that wrecked 6 August 1859. The ship wrecked in a high energy environment that has complicated research on the site for the last fifty years. Historically, increased manufacturing pressure brought on by the competitive British mailing system for steamship use, suggests the potential for vessel compromise was significantly higher between 1855 - 1863. This project considers structural compromise in Admella based on the materials and artefacts present within Admella Reef. The data presented in this project was collected with a combination of technological applications previously unavailable, such as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, Remotely Operated Vehicles, their control and mapping systems, and magnetometer, in addition to historic research and diver swim-line surveys. The results have been crucial to the overall project in relating the submerged environment to vessel loss, through observations made in relation to ship-material scatter across a wide-ranging area. The culmination of work presented here will contribute to future studies of known scattered shipwreck sites in high energy environments and could provide a useful comparison for understanding site formation processes.


Matt Gainsford, Kurt Bennett and Rebecca Cox: The HMS Buffalo re-examination project

This project will re-examine the HMS Buffalo shipwreck, located in Whitianga, New Zealand, aid regional stakeholders in future site management decisions and contribute new information for public interpretation. In 1986 the site was relocated by maritime archaeologist, Bill Jeffrey, of the South Australian Government’s State Heritage Branch with the assistance of volunteers. They surveyed the then exposed hull timbers and excavated three trenches (Jeffery 1988). Recent dives in 2019 on the shipwreck site indicate the protective sand layer observed during the 1980s fieldwork has been scoured away, leaving most of the structure exposed and at risk of rapid degradation. This highlights valuable archaeological material is at risk of being lost forever while also presenting an opportunity to record ship components not seen in the 1980s. A detailed site survey and material sampling will greatly increase our understanding of early-nineteenth century ship manufacture and encourage site management initiatives for the protection of underwater cultural heritage in New Zealand—an area significantly underdeveloped in the island nation.


Peta Straiton: Assessing the Economic and Sociocultural Value of Maritime Cultural Heritage Sites: An Interdisciplinary Pilot Study

Perhaps due to its general inaccessibility, the maritime environment is uniquely mysterious and maritime archaeological practitioners across the world often rely on romantic rhetoric to promote their work. Mystery has given rise to obstinance, however, as the maritime archaeological tourism industry stagnates in South Australia. In particular, the perceived benefit of tourism engagements – once a heavy focus in South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria – has become an assumed and apparently invariable quantity. It seems the adage 'everyone loves a shipwreck' is, for many, a sufficient summary of maritime cultural heritage's economic and sociocultural value. This study proposes and tests a new model of inquiry designed to clarify the nature of maritime cultural heritage's economic and sociocultural value in South Australia. The model adapts approaches and theoretical frameworks from other disciplines (including tourism, psychology, economics, and statistics) to augment common archaeological practises of community engagement. 

This pilot study involved two major threads of investigation. The first was to measure economic value by applying an 'attribution factor' to estimated visitor spends. The second was to compare types of place attachment with potentially observable behavioural outcomes. Primary data was gathered through 609 surveys conducted across six South Australian maritime cultural heritage sites. Statistical analyses were used to develop a visitor profile of each site, and again to produce a snapshot of the South Australian maritime cultural heritage tourism industry. 

Mick de Ruyter, Enrique Aragon Nunez and John McCarthy: Dhows carved in stone: identifying the nautical petroglyphs of Al Jassasiya, Qatar, through photogrammetric modelling and network analysis

This project sets out to apply methods from the digital humanities to a specific conundrum in nautical iconography in a new way that is widely applicable to maritime archaeology in Australasia. The identification of two-dimensional and three-dimensional depictions of watercraft in rock art, graffiti, models and other iconography is often a subjective process based on comparative analysis. This project uses network analysis to compare the technical attributes of a known ship type to its hypothetically similar iconographic representations modelled in high-resolution three-dimensional digital photogrammetry.

An assemblage of petroglyphs at Al Jassasiya in Qatar offer three-dimensional contemporary records of what may be the dāw, the original dhow, or the similar kalba, or gallivat. These petroglyphs can be modelled with photogrammetry and their attributes and proportions directly compared to the best extant example of the dāw, a wooden ship model in the Science Museum in London. There are other two-dimensional paintings and drawings of these craft that operated in the Indian Ocean until the mid-nineteenth century, but no photographs or direct archaeological evidence, and only one model. This project aims to compare the petroglyphs from the Al Jassasiya assemblage to each other and to the model to determine how similar they are with the dāw, while developing a method that can be applied to the identification of watercraft in other iconographic contexts.

Dr Mick de Ruyter is at Flinders University and his current research investigates the ways that maritime violence affected the seafaring traditions of Persian Gulf societies after the European intrusions of the sixteenth century. With a background in hydrographic surveying, Mick now specialises in the archaeology of Indian Ocean watercraft and the ways and means of fighting at or from the sea, and maritime art and iconography.

Trained as an archaeologist at Cadiz University (Spain) and Nantes University (France) with a MA in Research Methods of Archaeology, Dr Enrique Aragon Nunez has wide experience in underwater archaeology, participating with relevant institutions such as DRASSM and INA. In 2016 he was granted a FURS scholarship from Flinders University to accomplish his PhD on maritime connectivity during Early Iron Age in Western Mediterranean.

Dr John McCarthy is at Flinders, studying Dutch merchant ships of the 17th and 18th centuries and submerged Aboriginal cultural heritage. He is a specialist in digital applications for maritime archaeology and an experienced field archaeologist and scientific diver, having worked in the UK, Ireland and Australia. He is a regional councillor for AIMA and Assistant Editor of the AIMA Journal. His recent edited volume “3D Recording and Interpretation for Maritime Archaeology" can be downloaded from:


Gathering Information via Recreational and Technical (GIRT) Scientific Diver citizen science project, submitted by Andrew Viduka, PhD Candidate, University of New England, on behalf of Wreck Check, Inc.

Andrew Viduka is a maritime archaeologist and archaeological objects conservator employed by the Australian Government as the Assistant Director Maritime and Commonwealth Heritage. In this role he administers the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 and coordinates the National Historic Shipwrecks Program. Andrew co-led the drafting of the Australia’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018 and leads Australia’s consideration of ratification of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.  Andrew is a PhD candidate in Archaeology at the University of New England and his research focuses on linking community outcomes with the discovery and protection of underwater cultural heritage. As part of his PhD research, Andrew has developed and launched a no-impact, conservation focussed, citizen science project called ‘Gathering Information via Recreational and Technical (GIRT) Scientific Divers’. Besides being an AIMA member, he is Australia’s current ICOMOS – ICUCH Bureau member, a foundation member of the research group Wreck Check Inc. and a member of the Australian Citizen Science Association.

Interpretation of shallow buried maritime archaeological sites, using non-invasive methods, for in-situ management and archaeological research purposes. Submitted by Trevor Winton, PhD Candidate, Flinders University.

Trevor Winton has over 30 years of industry experience in applied marine research, remote sensing and in-situ process studies for NASA, government agencies, industrial and oil & gas clientele. His passions throughout have been diving and maritime archaeology, and after moving to Perth in 1999 joined MAAWA and collaborated with WAM Archaeology and Conservation Departments with coastal process studies and trial erosion protection ‘test square’ facilities on the James Matthews shipwreck site.  Trevor is currently a PhD candidate in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University. His research focus is on the applicability of geophysics, particularly sub-bottom profilers in combination with MBES and magnetometers, to map and quantify shallow-buried underwater archaeological material to facilitate better in-situ management planning. Trevor is a graduate of Monash University and obtained a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Management from the University of New South Wales and a MSc in Coastal and Ocean Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville.



Abhirada Komoot, PhD Candidate at the University of Western Australia, Influences of Early Shipbuilding Technology of the Western Indian Ocean in Southeast Asia: a study on the (sewn) construction of the Phanom-Surin shipwreck in Thailand

 The PNS shipwreck, dated to the ninth century CE, displays different characteristics from the usual indigenous Southeast Asian boatbuilding techniques, lashed-lug and single-stitching. Rather, it exhibits western Indian Ocean sewn-plank construction, which has cross stitching over wadding running continuously along the plank seams. It is the only physical ship remains of this type of sewn boat surviving to date. Interestingly, the timbers identified so far are indigenous to Southeast Asia, for example, Hopea odorata (frames), Dipterocarpus spp. (keelson), Shorea obtusa Wall. ex Blume (planking) and Arenga pinnata  (sewing cordage). This calls attention to the possible origin of the PNS shipwreck. Further study is planned in order to understand its construction in further detail, and undertaking more detailed analyses of key timbers to provide greater knowledge about this extremely significant vessel and its cargo.

Ceramics found on the site are from various locations Persia and China, and include local (Thai) products. The shipwreck has the potential to vastly increase our knowledge of ancient maritime connections between the western Indian Ocean region, Southeast Asia and China. Analysis to determine the provenance of these objects can help us understand maritime trade network in Indian Ocean World and the cultural contacts the shipwreck site has shared with other locations.


The intentions of this research are to enhance the quality of Southeast Asian shipwreck archaeological research, to enrich nautical heritage of our region, and to promote the appreciation of that heritage for present and future generations. Ultimately, this study hopes to make a contribution to new knowledge helping to unlock early-medieval shipbuilding, and seaborne trade patterns linking mainland Southeast Asia to China and the greater Indian Ocean World.

Fieldwork will take place in 2018 and result in a publication for the AIMA Bulletin.


Kurt Bennett: Archaeological investigation of design influences and construction practices employed by colonial shipwrights when constructing a nineteenth-century English East Indiaman

Kurt’s project aims to document and record the construction and design of Edwin Fox, a nineteenth-century English East Indiaman. The hull of Edwin Fox is located at 1 Auckland St, Picton 7220, New Zealand. It is housed under a purpose built shelter and is supported in a dry dock. The ship forms the main exhibit for the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum.

Using a cultural continuity framework, the research will examine how English shipwrights adapted to Southeast Asian environments and how this influenced colonial shipbuilding efforts during the nineteenth century. Detailed recording of the ship’s hull and timbers will reveal the way in which timbers have been shaped and used in the construction. It will involve 3-Dimenisonal (3D) scanning of the hull remains of Edwin Fox. Measurements will then be used to reproduce ships lines and plans. Further, scaled-drawings of the ship’s framing, planking, copper sheathing, fasteners and fittings will reveal the structural components and their functions.This research will contribute to the advancement of maritime archaeology in New Zealand.


This project will allow for volunteer opportunities to be offered to Edwin Fox Museum staff, AIMA members and Maritime Archaeological Association of New Zealand (MAANZ) members. Overall, this research will communicate to the public that New Zealand’s maritime heritage is significant and New Zealand contributes to global maritime archaeological literature.Fieldwork will take place in early 2017 and result in a publication for the AIMA Bulletin.

Originally from New Zealand, Kurt moved to Adelaide in 2009 to immerse himself in the Flinders University archaeology and maritime archaeology programs. In 2014 he completed his masters thesis titled ‘Rich Pickings: Abandoned vessel material reuse on Rangitoto Island, New Zealand’. His interests in archaeology include abandoned vessels sites and more recently, understanding influences in the design and construction of ships during the nineteenth century. Since his masters research, Kurt was employed as a consultant archaeologist in New Zealand. He has also been active in sharing his findings, appearing on a TV show, radio and presenting at community events. In 2016 he returned to Adelaide to start his PhD research. Kurt is a professional member of a number of organisations around the Australasian region and is committed to the development of maritime archaeology in New Zealand.


Matt Carter: Te Horeke to New Deptford: the archaeology of a Pākehā shipbuilding yard in pre-colonial New Zealand.

This project is a major component of Matt’s Ph.D. dissertation and will involve the archaeological investigation of the pre-colonial shipbuilding yard at Te Horeke (1826-1842), in the Hokianga Harbour, New Zealand. The archaeology at the site will be investigated to reconstruct the processes through which ships were built at the site, and to explore the motives and strategies of Pākehā and Māori entanglement in the shipbuilding industry there during this formative period in New Zealand’s history.  The funding from AIMA scholarship will be used to support the excavation of the site the results of which will be published as an AIMA Special Publication.

Hailing from New Zealand, Matt completed a Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology through Flinders University in 2007, followed by a Masters degree in Archaeology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. In 2009 Matt was awarded the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society's (OWUSS) Australasian Rolex Scholarship and he is now a PhD student at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Matt is passionate about developing the field of maritime archaeology in New Zealand and his research interests include maritime cultural landscapes, cultural entanglement and the combination of technical diving and maritime archaeology. He is the author of a number of peer reviewed publications, a specialist presenter on the television show ‘Coast’ New Zealand, the New Zealand representative on both the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Council, and the ICOMOS International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage, as well as a member of the Explorers Club and the Maritime Archaeological Association of New Zealand.


Laser Ablation Analysis of Mother of Pearl Shell and Buttons: A New Approach to the Trace Element and Isotopic Provenance of Maritime Material Culture.

This project aims to develop new isotopic and trace element techniques to provenance the source of mother of pearl (MOP) button through the use of Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) and Laser Ablation Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-MC-ICPMS). This research will provide a new tool for understanding the development of the MOP trade as a component of the Australian pearling industry which from the mid nineteenth century to the start of WWI, Australia produced 80% to 90% of the international supply of MOP for the manufacture of buttons (Mullins 2005:217). 

Project Investigators

Celeste Jordan

Celeste Jordan is a Master’s candidate in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology, as well as a Bachelor of Business (Victoria University) She received a Chancellor’s Commendation for academic achievement from Flinders University in 2013, and was co-awarded the inaugural Ruth and Vincent Megaw Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Archaeological Research and Practise for her contributions to the 2013 AIMA Series “Changing the Tides of Legislation”. In addition to her primary research interests in the history and archaeology of the Australian pearling industry, Celeste has a secondary focus on Indigenous watercraft.

Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau 

Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau is a VC postdoctoral fellow at Southern Cross University in NSW. He received his PhD in 2010 from the Research School fo Earth Sciences from the Australian National University, with a Thesis entitled "Direct dating of Human remains". Dr Joannes-Boyau's research focuses on the development and application of direct dating methods and micro-analytical techniques to key questions in archaeological sciences, such as the timing of human evolution, palaeodiet as well as population expansion and migration. Quaternary research, such as megafaunal extinction, landscape dynamics and palaeoclimate, is also a primary interest. 

Dr Ian Moffat

This project aims to develop new isotopic and trace element techniques to provenance the source of mother of pearl (MOP) button through the use of Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) and Laser Ablation Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-MC-ICPMS). This research will provide a new tool for understanding the development of the MOP trade as a component of the Australian pearling industry which from the mid nineteenth century to the start of WWI, Australia produced 80% to 90% of the international supply of MOP for the manufacture of buttons (Mullins 2005:217). 

Dr Ian Moffat is an archaeological scientist with research interests in geophysics, geochemistry, geomatics and sedimentology.  He is a postdoctoral fellow within the Laboratory of Geophysical-Remote Sensing and Archaeoenvironment at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, a consultant at Archaeometry Pty Ltd and a Principal Instructor at Precipice Training

Perth Region Maritime Archaeology 3D Mapping Project

MAAWA recently initiated the Perth Region Maritime Archaeology 3D Mapping Project, which represents the first stage of a broader programme of site documentation and management.  The main aim of this project is to develop a low-cost photogrammetry package that will facilitate the rapid recording of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) in the Perth area.  It is hoped that the development and implementation of low-cost recording techniques will not only build upon MAAWA’s existing skill-set (through training and awareness), but also help to inform and address current management priorities associated with UCH in the Perth region


Project Investigators

The Maritime Archaeological Association of Western Australia (MAAWA) is a community based non-profit organisation.  Established in 1974, MAAWA has a long history of involvement in the recording of shipwrecks in various parts of Western Australia, and is authorised to conduct wreck inspections on behalf of the Maritime Archaeology Department of the Western Australian Museum (MADWAM).  In addition to its collaborative ventures with MADWAM, MAAWA has published a volume on Swan and Canning River Wrecks and was awarded a Lotterywest grant to develop a smartphone app ( 


Maddy Fowler: The Maritime Cultural Landscape of Point Pearce

Maddy’s Ph.D. dissertation research directly relates to Indigenous maritime cultural landscapes and decolonising archaeology. She is interested in exploring ways in which Indigenous participation in maritime activities can be seen in archaeology and the recording of intangible heritage, such as traditional place names, routes and pathways through the maritime landscape and lived experiences. Her study involves community-based research with the Narungga community with a focus on Point Pearce Mission, South Australia (S.A.). The funding secured through the AIMA scholarship will assist with implementing place-based interviews with community members at Wardang Island and the Point Pearce coastline, including “seeing the land from the sea” by travelling along these coasts by boat.

 Maddy moved to Adelaide in 2009 to begin studying maritime archaeology. Her primary interest in archaeology is the study of maritime cultural landscapes in Australia’s historical period. In 2011 she completed an Honours thesis focusing on the maritime cultural landscape component of shipwreck landscapes in Port MacDonnell (S.A.). She later developed an interest in issues relating to the underrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in research into Australia’s maritime cultural landscapes. While still aligned with her general interest in maritime archaeology, she has reoriented her research goals towards cross-disciplinary maritime, Indigenous and historical issues.

The ship that never made it: the history and archaeology of the Correio d’Azia, an early nineteenth century Portuguese galera lost in Australia.

On November 26th 1816, the Portuguese ship Correio da Azia struck a reef off Australia, while sailing from Lisbon with general cargo and 107,000 silver coins meant for Macao.

After a failed salvage attempt, the Correio quietly slipped into the History; at least until 1995, when a manuscript detailing her loss was uncovered in Portuguese archives. Following a 16‐year search by the Western Australia Museum, the wreck was found in 2004, at Ningaloo Reef (WA).

Protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act, the remains of the Correio da Azia are now more than silent reminders of Portugal’s involvement in the China Trade. In keeping with the spirit of the UNESCO Convention, artefacts, historical and archival research are to be conducted to promote the dissemination of knowledge regarding the people that once owned and sailed the Correio da Azia.

Alexandre Monteiro

Alexandre Monteiro entered the Maritime Archaeology field as an avocational diver, fighting treasure hunting lobbies in the Azores Islands. He created the Azores Underwater Cultural Heritage Database, identifying more than 600 wrecks in the process.

He then surveyed for, located and excavated nine historical wrecks – the most notable ones being the HMS Pallas (an English 32-gun frigate, 1783), the Lidador (a Brazilian steamer, 1878), Angra C (a mid-17th century double hulled hurk), Angra D (a late 16th century Spanish galleon) and the Portuguese East Indiaman Nossa Senhora da Luz (1615).

He is currently the lead researcher on the Grândola Coastline Maritime Archaeology Project, an expert in Nautical Archaeology for ICOMOS, a fellow of the Portuguese Professional Archaeologists Association and a researcher with the Instituto de Arqueologia e Paleociências of the Lisbon Nova University - where he also has taught Maritime Nautical Archaeology and Contemporary Archaeology.

Alexandre Monteiro is currently a PhD student in History/Archaeology, with the Correio da Azia as his thesis.


Peter Taylor: Clippers on fire: why to ships burn?

The first major fire event in Hobson's Bay occurred in September 1853, the last major fire was in July 1895. During the interim over twelve major burning events occurred. The Gold-Rush period in Victoria of the 1850s led to an expediential growth in shipping arrivals to the Port of Melbourne. Upon arrival, crews would often desert and make their way to the diggings. The fact that crews were eager to get to the diggings suggests that there may be a link between the burning events and that desire. 

The aims of the project are to resolve some of the reasons for ship fires in Hobson's Bay, compare burning event statistics to other contemporary ports and to positively identify an assemblage of ship related material found in Hobson's Bay and believed to be part of the North American built wooden ship Result; burnt 1866, refloated in 1868.

Congratulations to Peter and we wish him the best of luck for his research and look forward to hearing about the results. For a summary of the project please click here: Clippers on fire: why to ships burn?