Leading Monash University archaeologist Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Dr Mark Staniforth from the School of Geography and Environmental Science and a 60-person team will examine the excavation, reburial and preservation of the Clarence, a historically significant colonial wooden trading vessel wrecked off Portarlington in 1850.
Dr. Staniforth, a specialist in Australian colonial shipbuilding and maritime archaeological excavation and one of three chief investigators on the three-year Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Project (AHSPP) said Australian wooden shipwrecks had huge potential to tell us about historic connections, technological innovation and daily life in colonial Australia.
“Their archaeological potential is often under enormous threat from natural and human impacts and we must find ways to preserve them for future generations,” Dr. Staniforth said.
“One of the main aims of the project is to develop a protocol for the excavation, recording and reburial, as well as the preservation of significant shipwrecks and their associated artefacts on the sea bed.”
Excavation work will start on the site on 16 April and continue for a month. It will involve maritime archaeologists and conservators from Monash University, UWA, the Australian National University, the Western Australia Museum, the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, and many State and Territory museums and heritage authorities as well as students and volunteers.
Six maritime archaeologists from Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines New Zealand and the USA have also been invited to participate in the research.