The Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Project:
In-situ preservation and long-term monitoring of the Clarence (1850) and James Matthews (1841)shipwreck sites

Dublin Core


The Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Project:
In-situ preservation and long-term monitoring of the Clarence (1850) and James Matthews (1841)shipwreck sites


Increasingly archaeologists are opting for on-site examination, reinterment and in-situ preservation of underwater cultural heritage sites as the first option in the management of sites at risk as opposed to the more traditional excavation, recovery, conservation and display/storage methods. This decision will inevitably be based on significance assessment, degree of perceived risk and resourcing issues. However, long-term monitoring must become an integral part of these management programmes in order to quantitatively evaluate the effectiveness of the in-situ preservation techniques employed. Absence of monitoring is equivalent to abrogation of responsible management and in some cases can be considered tantamount to cultural vandalism. In 2012 the Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Project (AHSPP) commenced, having secured funding through a substantial Australian Research Council Linkage Grant with 10 Australian Partner Organisations and three universities. One of the major aims of the project is to develop a protocol for the excavation, detailed recording and reburial of significant shipwrecks under threat, fostering a strategic national approach for the management of underwater cultural heritage sites at risk. Two historically significant shipwreck sites were chosen for this longitudinal comparative study – the Clarence (1850) located in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria and the James Matthews (1841) which lies in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. Both sites have been preserved in situ using two very different but innovative remediation strategies. More importantly a long-term monitoring programme has been implemented which will characterise changes in the reburial environment and the effect on the reinterred materials. In this way, the efficacy of both in-situ preservation techniques will be systematically tested, providing a comparative analysis of practical protocols for the long-term protection and management of underwater archaeological resources.


Vicki Richards
Ian MacLeod
Peter Veth, in Van Tilburg, H., Tripati, S., Walker Vadillo, V., Fahy, B., and Kimura, J. (eds.)





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