By Kendra Kennedy, ACUA Board Member

Over the past few years, some of the most fundamental questions humanity faces have held our attention. Life and death, politics and polarization, racism and discrimination, families and caregiving, gender and identity – these are the inescapable questions we are faced with every way we turn. We have come to the realization that each of us is responsible to act, to care, to address inequities, to contest falsehoods. Although the questions and concerns of archaeology are not (usually) life and death issues, our field is not immune to some of the most pressing problems of our age. Are you an underwater* archaeologist wondering: how can I contribute? How can I make this world a better place? How can I use my unique perspective to give back to my chosen profession and to the public at large? If so, the ACUA wants you!

The ACUA is an international advisory group with a board of directors composed of twelve members, including professionals from government agencies, academia, cultural resources management, museums and curation facilities, non-profits, and avocational organizations. The ACUA advises on issues important to underwater archaeology and provides outreach about the field to professionals, avocationals, sport divers, and the general public. (Want more information? Visit the rest of the pages on this website – If you or someone you know is an underwater archaeologist looking to do more to safeguard irreplaceable archaeological sites and promote a robust and inclusive narrative of maritime history, the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) encourages you to consider serving on the ACUA’s board of directors. Please send your suggestions to the Chair of the ACUA Board, Jennifer McKinnon (, by close of business on Thursday, February 15.

Board members are elected on a rotating basis for four-year terms by members of the SHA; three positions become available on the ACUA Board each year. Six candidates are proposed by the ACUA nominations committee and then approved by the board of directors to stand for election to the ACUA Board during the larger SHA election period. The six candidates are selected from among those suggested to the ACUA Board. While any professional or avocational underwater archaeologist in good standing is eligible to serve on the ACUA board of directors, any interested person must be able to meet certain requirements. First and foremost, prospective members must be registered members of the SHA during their candidacy and elected ACUA Board members must be registered members of the SHA during their entire term on the board. In addition, Board members must physically attend three out of the four annual Board meetings (two out of four meetings for international members) during their term. Annual meetings are held each year at the SHA’s annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology. Board members are expected to contribute actively to the organization and participate in the ACUA’s various committees.

Professionals and avocationals, divers and non-divers, non-profit staff and consultants, curators and field researchers, academics and government employees – underwater archaeologists work all around the world in a range of positions and hail from many different backgrounds. From the globe-trotting researcher making discoveries in the deep to the humble worker toiling away in the ubiquitous basement, underwater archaeology is a varied profession. The ACUA is constantly and actively looking to increase diversity of representation so that no voices are lost. If you have something to say, if you’ve been dreaming of such an opportunity, or if you know just the right person for the job, please speak up! With apocryphal apologies to Mahatma Ghandi, YOU can be the change you wish to see in underwater archaeology. The ACUA wants you! Please submit your name or a colleague’s name for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Please send your suggestions to the Chair of the ACUA Board, Jennifer McKinnon (, by close of business on Thursday, February 15.

Thank you to those who offered suggestions for the ACUA board of directors in 2023!! Suggested individuals who were not nominated as candidates in the year they were suggested are still very appreciated and are considered for nomination in following years.

*Please note: many different terms are used for the archaeology and history of human interaction with water – underwater, maritime, submerged, marine, riverine, aquatic, lacustrine, etc. For purposes of simplicity, this article uses the terms “underwater archaeology” and “maritime history.”

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