As Education Manager, I fully acknowledge that I have the best job in the world. Not only do I get to work with a fantastic bunch of NAS members, I also get the opportunity to travel to some amazing places. I’ve just spent five days in Antalya on the south coast of Turkey. Let me tell you why I was there.

Image 1: arriving very late in the evening into Antalya airport

While I spent a lot of time at beach resorts, this was no holiday! Instead of basking in the sunshine, I spent all day in the dark interiors of the hotel conference centres with a group of the who’s who of international maritime archaeologists. We had come from all around the world to discuss how our work can support the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and how to make maritime archaeology more visible in the United Nation’s Decade of Ocean Science and Sustainable Development.

Images 2 and 3: One of the hotel conference centres and the delegates in discussion

We discussed how we need to improve Ocean Literacy to get the public more aware of the plight of our underwater world. And we also heard uplifting presentations from colleagues on the interesting work they are doing. One of the highlights was hearing about the newly formed Maritime Archaeology and Heritage Institute’s (MAHI) work in Pakistan. This brand-new organisation is at the beginning of their journey in developing maritime archaeology in their country. They’ve chosen NAS to help them with this process and we’ve just signed them up as our newest International Training Partner!


Images 4 and 5: Ocean Literacy presentation and Amer Khan from MAHI

Apart from representing NAS on the international stage, I was there as Communications Officer of the UNESCO 2001 Convention Accredited NGOs. We had a very successful meeting of our members who attended both in-person and online (as you do these days!). But we also had the opportunity to present the hard work we’ve been doing recently on creating a database of experts in Underwater Cultural Heritage that the UNESCO 2001 Convention Secretariat can call upon when needed. The database has been created and is hosted by our colleagues in the Maritime Archaeology Trust and we’ve got quite a list of clever people on the database already.

Image 6: Garry Momber from the Maritime Archaeology Trust presenting our database to the international community.

But we did get a bit carried away and we’ve now started to add examples of ‘best practice’ projects to the database. It’s quite inspiring to see what is going on out there.

While I said it wasn’t a holiday, the conference delegates certainly did get treated to some amazing cultural experiences after our meetings were done for the day.

We caught a cable car up Mount Olympos which is 2,365m high with snow still on the ground at the end of May! That was certainly a spectacular location for the conference opening reception - just a bit windy!

Image 7: Peta up the very windy Mt Olympos

The delegates were all taken to the Antalya Aquarium where we were treated to a traditional dance performance and were surprised to see replicas of underwater archaeology sites (but not many fish!).

Images 8-11: Turkish dancing and underwater archaeology at the aquarium, but not many fish.

We finished off the conference by viewing a very impressive research vessel under construction to be used for maritime archaeology in Turkish waters. Akdeniz University in Antalya will use it to teach their Masters' students and have said that the NAS can use it too! I suggest we find an excuse for some NAS fieldwork in Turkey!

Image 12: Julie Satchell from MAT and Peta being very jealous of Turkey’s archaeology research vessel.

It was truly inspiring to be back amongst our international colleagues after such a long covid hiatus on such in-person activities. All sorts of plans and activities are underway as a result of these days in Turkey. So watch this space for exciting opportunities for NAS members in the future!

This conference would not have been possible without the free accommodation, transfers and food that was organised by Hakan Oniz from Akdeniz University who also organised the event with the UNESCO 2001 Convention Secretariat. A special thank you to the all-female university student team who ran the logistics and technology and made sure everyone got on the correct mini-bus to the right venue each day!