The Western Australian Museum is pleased to host the Sixth International Congress on Underwater Archaeology (IKUWA6) at the WA Maritime Museum this week.

Museum CEO Alec Coles said IKUWA (Internationaler Kongreß für Unterwasserarchäologie) is an independent, not-for-profit international network, and IKUWA6 is organised under the patronage of UNESCO and focuses on maritime archaeology.

“The aim of IKUWA is to raise awareness about the importance of global underwater cultural heritage, and to support an international regulatory framework for its preservation and protection,” Mr Coles said.

The conference is held every two to three years and this is the first year IKUWA has been held outside of Europe, allowing practitioners in the southern and northern hemispheres to interact directly with each other.

“One of the reasons Western Australia was chosen to host the conference in 2016 is to coincide with the 400th Anniversary of the landing in WA by Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog on 25 October 1616; which heralded the beginning of a series of explorations by European navigators to WA,” Mr Coles said.

“The dish left behind by Hartog at Shark Bay in 1616 is the earliest archaeological evidence of European landing in WA and can be seen at the Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World exhibition currently on display at the WA Maritime Museum.”

IKUWA6 co-chair Jennifer Rodrigues said Western Australia was also a fitting choice to host the conference because of its contribution to maritime archaeology.

“In Australia, maritime archaeology began in earnest in the 1960s with Western Australia leading the way in research. It is also notable that the Western Australian Museum contributed significant knowledge that led to the passing of the 1976 Historic Shipwrecks Act by the Australian Government. The Museum is recognised throughout the world for its significant contribution to maritime and nautical archaeology,” Ms Rodrigues said.

With approximately 260 delegates from more than 30 countries in attendance at this year’s conference, the theme Celebrating our Shared Heritage is particularly appropriate and one that supports a broad, internationally focused agenda.

“IKUWA6 provides a unique and significant opportunity to exchange research, knowledge and ideas, and cross-cultural perspectives with international colleagues from around the world,” Ms Rodrigues said.



Media contact
Flora Perrella
Media and Publicity Officer
Western Australian Museum