Since 2011, Inrap has had an underwater activities service, specifically dedicated to the implementation of underwater operations, whether at sea or in rivers. The preparation and implementation of underwater preventive archaeology operations require advanced technical skills, specific diving training, but also a good knowledge of professional diving safety rules, especially enhanced in hyperbaric environments.
As a land archaeologist first and having been practicing underwater archaeology for many years, I joined the underwater activities service at Inrap in 2012 to specifically take care of logistical issues in hyperbaric environments.
My role is pivotal in the way that I am involved in all the technical elements that an underwater archaeological operation requires : identifying the needs of each operation, both from a human and technical point of view, accordingly preparing the technical equipment for each member of the team and conveying the transport truck onto the site of the operation, which can be all over the French territory. The context of these interventions (ocean, river, lake …) determines the type and number of boats needed for the operation. Searching for suitable water transportation resources is also part of my job.
After launching an operation, I join the teams on the field to effectively participate in the archaeological excavation: diving reconnaissances, excavations, surveys, sample gatherings…
At the end of the operation, all the equipment used is thoroughly cleaned, checked, revised if necessary and then stored at the operational base in anticipation of the next intervention.
My working time is thus divided between my office, the operational base that stores the diving and technical equipment and finally the field, drawing a rather unusual but exciting job profile.
*hyperbaric: pertaining to or utilizing gaseous pressure greater than normal.