By Cassandra Morris
Master of Maritime Archaeology Candidate,
2011 Flinders University Archaeological Society (ArchSoc) Vice President
A student’s life is full of research. This week classes at university began again, forcing me to an early wake up, hours spent looking for a carpark and then finally getting on to campus only to discover that the information you went to pick up and work on is not there.
This week I have been working on promoting a facebook page. “Take the Plunge – Protect Australia’s Heritage” is a page created to promote the UNESCO 2001 Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage and its ratification by the Australian Government. A group of students (including myself) developed this page as a way to promote this controversial topic to the public, as well as to students and professionals. On the site is a downloadable letter that can be sent to our Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The letter lists beneficial points of ratifying the Convention in addition to pointing out that nearly all of the WW2 wrecks off the coast and in other countries are not protected. So far this page has spread like wildfire, appearing on many museum, university, dive groups and interested parties pages that it can. It has also made its way via facebook overseas. On Friday 29th the page reached 100 ‘likes’ and the letter viewed over 350 times! During the week we decided that we should take this opportunity to send letters to other members of parliament which are now in the writing stages. This page and its process are also being considered by another member of the group and myself for a poster, to be presented at the 2011 AIMA Conference.
Furthermore, my thesis for my Masters in Maritime Archaeology is in its research phase, and therefore, never far from my mind. Time spent making lists and reading previous theses and publications is not interesting to the outside observer. However, for my studies this past week’s efforts have been fruitful, and, at the same time, rather mind boggling. Ahead of me I can look forward to shuffling my way through museum policies and exhibitions. On my to do list: many phone calls and many more emails.
One of the highlights of my week was stumbling across a rather amusing book in the University bookshop. “The Archaeologists Book of Quotations” by K. Kris Hirst gave me a good laugh just flicking through the pages. Pride of place at the beginning of the blurb is a quote from Kent V. Flannery, “Hell, I don’t break the soil periodically to ‘reaffirm my status’. I do it because archaeology is still the most fun you can have with your pants on”. I think this sums up the feelings of most archaeologists, most likely due to all the time spent researching in libraries and at desks!