The 2024 recipients of the George Fischer International Student Travel Award are Iness Bernier, from Nantes Université , France, and Leah Tavisi, from University of Oxford Center for Maritime Archaeology. Because 2019 was not awarded and 2021 was a virtual conference, the ACUA was able to give the 2024 award to two outstanding recipients this year!

Iness Bernier, winner of the 2024 George Fischer International Student Travel Award

Born in Brittany, in the west of France, I developed a strong interest in maritime tales and stories at an early age, subjects that are very present on our coasts. That’s how I began my journey into underwater archaeology, first at the University of Nantes and then at the University of Perpignan Via Domitia. I was lucky enough to be able to study for a semester at the University of Cyprus, which encouraged me not to be afraid of going beyond borders and expanding my research horizons. I thus specialized in modern naval architecture (and more specifically on the steering gear and fittings) where I was able to deal with a dense corpus of wrecks from the four corners of the world. Today, I’m studying for a second master’s degree in archaeology in Nantes, where I’m also preparing a PhD thesis on Ottoman naval architecture and the many influences that have shaped it over the centuries. Otherwise, I’m passionate about running and bread-making (a bit of a cliché, I know). I would like to express my deep gratitude to the entire ACUA Board and to Nancy Fisher for this invaluable help offered to students of underwater archaeology.

Please join us in welcoming Iness during her presentation: The Architectural Influence Of Ships Sailing The Red Sea Under The Ottoman Empire, The Contribution Of Underwater Archaeology

Iness’ presentation explores Cheryl Ward’s studies of the Sadana wreck in the Red Sea, which have raised new questions about the architectural nature of wrecks discovered in the Red Sea such as Umm Lajj or Sharm-el-Sheikh. The wreck on Sadana Island, along with others discovered in ports further east, mean that we cannot rely solely on the material used in construction to determine their origin. The intensive archaeological studies carried out on these wrecks offer valuable insights into the history of maritime trade in the Red Sea region. However, it is important to note that despite the advances made to date, many questions remain unanswered. The complex nature of maritime trade in the region means that a complete understanding of these vessels and their origins is an ongoing challenge for researchers. Future investigations could bring new discoveries and shed further light on our understanding of the history of navigation in the Red Sea.

Leah Tavasi, winner of the 2024 George Fischer International Student Travel Award

Leah is a PhD student at the University of Oxford in environmental research focusing on maritime archaeology. She graduated from Oxford in 2022 with a master’s in archaeology, specializing in maritime archaeology. Prior to Oxford, she completed her bachelor’s degree in history and classical studies from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She has previously worked at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum as a maritime archaeologist. Her current focuses are on bridging the gap between marine science research and archaeology within the maritime cultural landscape, as well as using archaeology and history as a platform for engagement and outreach in our changing world.

Please join us in  welcoming Leah during her presentation: Sales of Sail: The Production and Economy Behind Roman Sails

Filling a gap in classical maritime literature by creating an economy of sails – how much they cost, where they were made, who made them – and the implications of such an economy, a sail production line is created through the formulation and analysis of a chaine operatoire. Through a discussion of the primary base textiles used – linen, cotton, and wool – in relation to the archaeological evidence, the preparation of these fabrics is analyzed. Key elements are established integral to sails and their cost. The prices of each of these elements are structured in a production line, and are used to determine the price of Nilotic river boat sail, as well as sails depicted in reliefs and described textually. These sails provide insight into the economic system and professions that supported seafaring as well as the greater industry of textile production.