Each year, The Shipwreck Survey organizes multiple underwater archaeological field schools and expeditions in exotic locations around the world. For learning underwater archaeology on fascinating sites both types of trips offer exciting hands-on opportunities.

Field schools are held at locations where large-scale investigations of underwater archaeological sites are carried out. During these programs, participants are fully immersed in the archaeological process from start to finish for several weeks, during which they learn a wide variety of skills. Archaeology field schools are a mix of presentations, workshops, underwater research, data processing, artifact conservation, and dissemination of results. Participants will learn all the basics of underwater archaeological investigation, such as surveying techniques, setting up baselines, site reporting, underwater drawing, underwater photography and photogrammetry (3D modeling), and artifact recovery. Field schools are great programs for anyone interested in a career in underwater archaeology, or enthusiasts who would like to be completely immersed in maritime history.

Archaeology expeditions are slightly different programs. These are usually shorter trips focused on the exploration of remote shipwreck sites in off the beaten path locations. The focus of these trips is usually shipwreck discovery and basic documentation using underwater photography and photogrammetry. We tend to visit many different sites during an expedition. As these are true adventures, living and working conditions might be a bit more basic than during our field schools. Archaeology expeditions are suited to both enthusiasts and students who are looking for a unique experience in underwater archaeology.



All our archaeology programs are led by experienced maritime archaeologist Dr. Ruud Stelten. Born in the Netherlands, Ruud completed his BA and MA degrees in archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University in 2009 and 2010. He completed his Ph.D. at Leiden University in 2019, focusing on the maritime cultural landscape of St. Eustatius.

After working in Dutch commercial archaeology for over a year, he became the island archaeologist on St. Eustatius in the Dutch Caribbean in 2011. Since then, he has directed numerous underwater and terrestrial archaeological projects and field schools, teaching hundreds of students on various islands such as Mauritius, Martinique, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St. Eustatius, and Bonaire. In 2016, he founded Terramar Museum, a new archaeological museum on Bonaire.

Ruud has been diving since he was 16 years old. He is a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and Specialty Instructor with experience diving all over the world. Besides archaeology, his big passion is underwater photography.



At The Shipwreck Survey we have all the facilities necessary to carry out an archaeological project from start to finish. Our laboratories are spacious and well-equipped to conserve artifacts and process data. Our air-conditioned presentation rooms are equipped with large screens and provide ample workspace.

We conduct our training with top of the line equipment to ensure participants are using the latest technology in the field. For geophysical surveys, we use a Starfish 452F side scan sonar. This sonar is easy to operate and provides outstanding image quality. For underwater photography, videography, and photogrammetry we use high-end Olympus mirrorless cameras with a variety of lenses and underwater housings.

Data processing is done with software used throughout the industry, such as Agisoft Metashape, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro. We use well-maintained Aqualung dive equipment and Suunto dive computers to ensure safe and productive dives.


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