By Lindsay Wentzel, Graduate Student Associate Member

The Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) is an international advisory body that focuses on issues relating to underwater archaeology, conservation, and underwater cultural heritage management. ACUA Graduate Student Associate Members (GSAs)serve a voluntary, 2-year term promoting student engagement and acting as a liaison between students and the board. This includes producing the quarterly ACUA Student Newsletter, sharing content on the ACUA’s two social media accounts (Facebook & Instagram), and holding an annual panel session at the Society for Historical Archaeology conference aimed at student professional development. GSAs also often serve on committees, attend general meetings, and help organize extracurricular opportunities relevant to the field of underwater archaeology.

Having served as a GSA, I highly encourage interested graduate students to consider applying for a GSA position. The past year has provided me with countless opportunities resulting from my participation with the ACUA. Beginning in January, despite complications with SHA 2022, I was first introduced to our board members through the annual “Submerged Cultural Resources Awareness Workshop”. By February, I began to fall into this new role, sharing content on social media and working to engage virtually with other students. In April, we held our “Careers in Underwater Archaeology” virtual panel. All of these connections eventually led to a trip this past September to explore the maritime history of Alexandria, Egypt with the 2022 ACUA George Fischer Student Travel Award Winner, Alicia Johnson of the University of Alexandria Centre for Maritime Archaeology & Underwater Cultural Heritage. But the opportunities didn’t stop there!

Lindsay Wentzel (center right) with University of Alexandria Centre for Maritime Archaeology & Underwater Cultural Heritage students Mark Kyriahos (left), Sara Ibrahim (center bottom) and 2022George Fischer Student Travel Award winner Alicia Johnson (right) at the Bibliotheca Alexandria. Photo courtesy Lindsay Wentzel.

Over the summer, GSA Dominic Bush and myself participated on a two-week project documenting submerged cultural heritage off the coast of Antalya, Turkey with a team representative of 11 countries. Our applications were selected partly based on our roles as ACUA representatives and the intention of the project leader to create and connect a global team of students studying underwater archaeology. This method worked! In addition to some members now participating on each other’s projects in the coming year, including contributing to the ACUA Student Newsletter, many of us also intend on reuniting in Lisbon. My experience as a GSA has led to development opportunities and international connections that I’ll carry through my career. As we prepare to cycle in new GSAs in the coming months, I find it important that we recommit ourselves to engaging a larger student audience more representative of our global discipline.

L-R: Lindsay Wentzel and Dominic Bush (ACUA GSAs) with Ross Jehan Atabey, MA student at Southampton, preparing to enter the water for a dive survey, Antalya, Turkey. Photo courtesy Jordy Moies of Aix-Marseille University.

The upcoming 2023 SHA Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology in Lisbon, Portugal aims to acknowledge the “transformation of historical archaeology into a truly global discipline”. In keeping with this year’s theme “Revisiting Global Archaeologies”, the ACUA GSAs are holding a forum session. “Future Directions of Underwater Archaeology in a Post-Pandemic, Increasingly-Digital Age” will aim to bring together international perspectives on current and forthcoming directions in underwater archaeology, providing insight into topics of international partnerships, employment options, and emerging technologies and accompanying skillsets.

In addition to this opportunity, we are also announcing the call for new ACUA Graduate Student Associate Applications as part of our ongoing effort to encourage student participation and professional development!

Are you a current student studying underwater archaeology, and do you have a drive to contribute to the field through the service to and engagement of your peers? Or are you looking for the chance to network with professionals, develop skillsets in public outreach, and represent the ACUA core principles of ethics, respect, diversity, and equity? We highly encourage you to apply and join us on the next term. The next 2-year term runs 1 January 2023 through 31 December 2024; GSAs are limited to two consecutive terms. Interested graduate students must submit a brief essay (no more than 2 pages) addressing the following questions: (a) What skills or experience do you have that would enhance your effectiveness as the ACUA Graduate Student Associate Member? (b) What two goals of the Society would you emphasize and work for as a student liaison to the ACUA? (c) How would you work towards a more inclusive and equitable underwater archaeology?

A short biographical statement or CV, and a letter of recommendation from a professor or other professional mentor are also required. All of these materials should be submitted as one complete package to with Graduate Student Associate Member in the subject line. The GSA appointment is open to any currently enrolled graduate student studying underwater archaeology or a directly related field, and the applicant must remain a student throughout their tenure. Membership in the Society for Historical Archaeology is also required. All application packages must be received by­­­ November 1. The ACUA Board of Directors will review applications and make their selection no later than November 15. Those students interested in becoming involved with the ACUA outside of the GSA position are also encouraged to attend our upcoming forum in Lisbon or consider submitting an article to our quarterly Student Newsletter. We look forward to having you join us!

Note: Ehab Elshaer, Lindsay Wentzel, and Alicia Johnson near the Giza necropolis (featured image above)

Categorised in: