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Call for applications: Training for In-situ Conservation of Underwater Metal Heritage

Call for applications: Training for In-situ Conservation of Underwater Metal Heritage

1. Introduction

The International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar (ICUA Zadar), recognized as a category 2 centre under the auspices of UNESCO, is hosting a one-week training program. This is the first time such a program is being offered. The In-situ Conservation of Underwater Metal Heritage will take place in the Zadar region, Croatia, from 20th to 24th May 2024.

The training targets professionals in the fields of conservation, archaeology, and expertise related to the safeguarding and management of underwater cultural heritage. The participants will have the opportunity to learn about methods of protection and monitoring of underwater metal heritage. Particular emphasis in the training is placed on measurement methods on wreck sites to predict future changes. This training consists of a theoretical part and practical work supervised by experienced international conservators, archaeologists, and experts in protection.

The training is organized with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia. Practical organization is coordinated by ICUA Zadar and other guest lecturers and associates.


2. Participants

The maximum number of trainees will be limited to 4 participants.

Expected profile of participants: conservators and archaeologists (including researchers or university students enrolled in graduate-level degrees) with diving experience who intend to qualify as members of underwater conservation and archaeological teams and participate in underwater research.

Language skills: Participants must be proficient in English since English will be the official language of the course.


3. Tentative Programme

The theoretical part of the training will be held at the ICUA Zadar facilities, whereas practical lessons will take place at different diving sites in the vicinity of Zadar. Dives are planned on several metal shipwrecks and an airplane wreck: the first shipwreck site is the Ledenik near the island of Sestrunj. The second shipwreck Michelle is located at the island Dugi otok, while the wrecked plane is a Štuka dive bomber near the island of Žirje. ICUA Zadar will organize transportation to the diving sites. As part of their on-site training, all participants will take part in measurements of wreck sites and trial installation of cathodic protection on a metal object. They will also gain practical experience working with instruments and tools for underwater measurements and conservation. At the end of the training, participants who complete all exercises and prove to be valuable team members will receive an official ICUA Zadar certificate denoting the successful completion of the training.

ICUA Zadar reserves the right to change the schedule in case of unforeseen circumstances.


The theoretical segment of the training will cover:

  • Causes of deterioration of metal structures and wrecks
  • Interpretation of marine encrustation on shipwrecks
  • Wreck collapse prediction
  • Methods of conservation and protection of metal objects and wrecks
  • Wreck monitoring and protection systems
  • Application of iron/steel protection methods in industry to archaeological and historical iron objects
  • Examples of in situ underwater protection of metal structures:
    • Canons and anchors
    • Shipwrecks
    • Submarine


The practical segment of training will cover the following:

  • Determining the corrosion state of wreck sites
  • Wreck collapse time calculations
  • Use of instruments for underwater measurements
  • Use of tools for underwater metal conservation
  • Underwater conservation and protection of metal objects
  • Measurement of conservation effectiveness
  • Creation of a plan for the protection of underwater metal heritage


List of the lecturers:

Antonija Jozić, ICUA Zadar

Dr. Ian D. MacLeod, Heritage Conservation Solutions

Dr. Jean-Bernard Memet, A-CORROS Expertises

Pablo Pérez-Fuentes Ramos, Zineti, S.A.U. Cathodic protection

Roko Surić, ICUA Zadar

Zdenka Vrgoč, ICUA Zadar


4. Participation costs

The price for the training is EUR 500,00.

During their stay in Zadar, ICUA Zadar will provide:

- Accommodation in ICUA’s dormitory while staying in Zadar

- Local transfers to the training sites

- Diving equipment (if participants do not have their own)

- Insurance against injury

- ICUA Zadar certificate of attendance and successful completion of the training


Selected applicants will not receive:

- reimbursement or contributions for their travel to/from Zadar

- any daily allowance or other additional financial support during the training.


5. Requirements

- University education (minimum first-level degree) in conservation, archaeology, or related fields

- Minimum Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD), CMAS** or an equivalent diving certificate

- Practical experience in underwater research

- Medical certificate ensuring fitness for diving

- At least 18 years of age

Having a current professional association with public institutions responsible for preserving cultural heritage will be considered as an advantage.


6. Selection Criteria

Applications will be assessed and selected based on the professional and educational profiles presented in the application documents. Priority will be given to applicants from public institutions competent for the safeguarding and management of cultural heritage, especially underwater cultural heritage, where possible.

Applications with similar professional profiles will be enlisted based on their educational level.

Possible letters of support from parent institutions will also be considered an added value. In the selection, geographical balance will be sought, and the selection of more than one applicant from the same country will be avoided.


7. Application

Applicants should send to ICUA Zadar the following documents no later than 1st March 2024:

- Curriculum Vitae

- Scan of the diving card

- Scan of valid diving medical certificate ensuring fitness for diving

Participants must present diving insurance upon getting official information to be accepted into the training.

Applications and accompanying documentation (CV, copy of diving certificate, copy of valid medical certificate ensuring fitness for diving) should be sent by e-mail to the attention of Ms. Zdenka Vrgoč (zvrgoc@icua.hr). The deadline for submission of the documents is 1st March 2024. All applicants will be informed about acceptance by 8th March 2024.

Due to the unpredictable situations, ICUA Zadar reserves the right to change the schedule or cancel the training.

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