Maritime Archaeology Field School Phillip Island – Victoria

1st-15th February 2015, The Flinders University Maritime Archaeology Field School will run as a two week intensive course from the 1st to the 15th of February, 2015. The Maritime Archaeology Field School (ARCH3309/8152) provides students with an introduction to the techniques of underwater survey, position fixing, mapping, photography, recording, excavation and conservation.  Some lectures and videos will be provided on the various research methods and techniques used by maritime archaeologists. The Field School will include practical exercises, field work and associated lecture/seminars.

The Maritime Archaeology Field School was held on Phillip Island, Victoria in 2012 and 2014. Both times, the topic was run in cooperation with Heritage Victoria. Phillip Island is located about 140km kilometres south/southeast of Melbourne and forms a natural barrier for the waters of Western Port. The 2012 and 2014 Flinders University maritime archaeology field schools included a shipwreck survey of McHaffie Reef plus a study of a land-based shipwreck Speke (1891–1906) and maritime infrastructure around the island.

Maritime archaeologists from Heritage Victoria inspected the McHaffie Reef shipwreck sites in the 1980s and confirmed that one of them dates possibly to the mid 19th century. The vessel’s remains are partially intact, are of wooden construction, and have an estimated length of 20 yards. In 2012, the student relocated the shipwreck site and tentatively identified its remains as from theLeven Lass. The ship ran aground on Phillip Island to save its cargo after the vessel had sprung a leak in 1854.  The archaeological evidence, i.e., construction materials, cargo, vessel size, and wrecking location all correspond to evidence gathered during archival research. The goals of the 2014 field school were to map the possible remains of Leven Lass, and to date, identify, and record other shipwrecks on McHaffie Reef, and facilitate further maritime archaeological studies of Western Port Bay.

Non-diving students enrolled in the 2015 field school will survey the remains of the steel ship Speke and record its construction details. This large, three-masted steel ship capsized on the southwest side of Phillip Island, where its bow is still a prominent feature on the beach.


Flinders University’s Maritime Archaeology Program is now accepting applications to participate in the Maritime Archaeology Field School 2015.  This is an exciting opportunity as it is also being offered as a short course.  By offering it as a short course, those individuals who are not currently enrolled at a university may still participate. Avocational and volunteer archaeologists are encouraged to apply.  Upon completion of the field school participants receive training certification through AIMA/NAS level II and/or III (level III requires that  participants have attended a two-day conference in the past or future).

The cost of field school is comparable to the tuition and fees Flinders University’s Australian and international students pay. There are a limited amount of spots available, so please express interest early.

Follow the link below for the application and more information on the field school.

Please contact Dr Jonathan Benjamin ( with further questions. For further details on all aspects of this field school follow this link