The destruction of underwater cultural heritage has increased rapidly in the last two hundred years mainly driven by direct and indirect impacts from people. However, with climate change and potentially larger storm events more often, an underwater site’s equilibrium with its physical environment is also under increased threat from natural physical processes that can enable increased deterioration. Wreck Check member Andrew Viduka, as part of his PhD studies in the School of Humanities at the University of New England, is researching the question: ‘Can public archaeology inform science based underwater cultural heritage management?’ to link an informed public with the protection of underwater cultural heritage.
As part of his research, Andy is developing a program called Gathering Information by Recreational and Technical (GIRT) Scientific Divers. GIRT will train interested divers to become citizen scientists, capable of systematically documenting the physical condition of their ‘adopted’ shipwreck, increasing the number of people observing our shipwreck heritage in a scientific manner. The Wreck Check – GIRT Scientific Diver project aims to:
-better understand the condition of shipwrecks around Australia and New Zealand and the factors driving their preservation or deterioration; and
-understand who is interested to participate in this citizen science project and whether their motivation changes throughout the course of their participation.
Andy will be carrying out a pilot project in South Australia from 23 July – 1 December, 2018. Wreck Check invites people in South Australia interested to participate in GIRT to contact firstname.lastname@example.org . It is anticipated that GIRT will be available for any interested citizen scientist from early 2019.
GIRT is supported by SA Heritage and SA Maritime Museum