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Let's go Gold Coast! ARCH 8159 Maritime Archaeology Fieldwork Practicum Gold Coast Wreck Conservation Project

Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

April 7, 2014 to April 19, 2014

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Flinders University

Project Director:

Professor Claire Smith

Project Description


This topic is a practicum, which provides students with opportunities to participate in the workplace environment. Occasionally, maritime archaeology fieldwork opportunities arise in which students may assist government agencies, consultancy firms, non-profit groups or other universities. This topic provides students with the ability to participate in these projects and receive one-on-one guidance and instruction with immediate feedback on their performance. This practicum will allow students to put their theoretical learning into practice, develop a sense of the workplace, enhance their employment prospects through additional training, build a network of contacts, and develop a range of personal and professional work skills. This topic will be taught in intensive mode during a full week, including two weekends, and will necessitate involvement and input from a range of maritime archaeology practitioners. SCUBA diving qualifications are not necessary for participation. The body of the topic will comprise practical exercises, field work and associated lecture/seminars.

The practicum will be based in Gold Coast, Queensland, with the support of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) and the Gold Coast City Council. Please see websites for more details:

The students will focus on recording and investigating the origin of a section of wreck recovered in 1974.  While it was popularly regarded as part of the 1846 wreck of Coolangatta, there has been a long held debate that it could also represent the partial remains of the Heroine (1897).  Both vessels were built in NSW and share some characteristics, although were constructed 50 years apart. 

The Coolangatta  is an early shipwreck for SE QLD (1846). The entry for the Coolangatta in the ANSDB can be found at:

The project will provide students  with an opportunity to develop their skills in:

  • Documenting and identifying ship components;
  • Conducting historic research and evaluating findings;
  • Investigation of ships materials;
  • Undertake offshore remote sensing surveys;
  • Entering relics in the Australian National Shipwreck Database;
  • Consider management and conservation of an actual wreck.

This topic aims to:

Provide graduate students with the opportunity for additional training in practical aspects of maritime archaeology and the opportunity to apply their theoretical classroom learning to “real world” situations.

  • Introduce students to professional maritime archaeologists and the breadth and depth of their job descriptions. This should help students develop a sense of workplace culture, and understand the utility of developing reasoning and research skills for future use in the workplace.
  • Expose students to the range and variety of field projects, methodologies and practical skills necessary for conducting maritime archaeology and give further meaning and relevance to their classroom learning experiences.

Students should:

  • Become “workplace literate” acquiring the practical and technical skills for conducting maritime archaeology fieldwork. They should also gain a better understanding for the legal and ethical responsibilities that accompany the profession.
  • Create professional relationships with maritime archaeologists currently working in the field and gain an understanding of their workplace and job descriptions. Students will also enhance their employment prospects by acquiring field experience.
  • Develop an appreciation for working in a team setting, acquiring the personal and professional attributes necessary to work with others to complete tasks.



Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements


Overseas Participants receive a Certificate of Achievement which states that the short course is equivalent to the completion of the Flinders University topic ARCH8159, which is a 4.5 unit topic.
Participants should be able to use this to negotiate their own credit transfer with their home institution.

Non-Flinders University Australian Students should be able to receive credit at their home institution equivalent to the value of a 4.5 unit Flinders University postgraduate topic.
There are different costs associated with this course depending on your enrollment: 

Flinders University Students: 
the normal 4.5 unit topic fee for archaeology (students may choose to defer payment via HECS). Enrolled international students are liable for normal international tuition fees.

Overseas Participants 
AUD $3000 tuition fee (inclusive of GST).

 Non-Flinders University Australian Students 
AUD $1750 postgraduate topic fee (inclusive of GST). 

Practicum Fee

Additional costs 


Academic Credit

Number of credits offered 4.5 units


Contact Information
Dr Wendy van Duivenvoorde
GPO Box 2100
+61 8 8201 5195
+61 8 8201 2784