IKUWA is a global network of cooperating bodies that organises congresses focused on underwater archaeology to raise awareness of the importance of underwater cultural heritage and to create an international regulatory framework for its protection.
The congresses are organised under the patronage of UNESCO and the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
The first international congress for underwater archaeology (IKUWA 1) was held in February 1999 in Sassnitz, Germany, with the theme "protection of cultural heritage under water".
It received considerable support from the Raphael Programme of the European Union, in the context of reinforcing east-west cultural and educational ties, and was organised by the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Unterwasserarchäoloqie (DEGUWA) and seven German and five non-German (Switzerland, UK, Greece, Netherlands and Poland) partner organisations.
IKUWA2 was held in Zurich in October 2004. The organising committee included German and British members. About 200 participants from 25 countries attended. The proceedings were published in 2006 as Volume 40 of the monographic series "Antiqua" titled: "Die Neue Sicht. Une nouvelle lnterprétation de I'histoire."
It was IKUWA 2's goal to demonstrate where and how the historical image has been changed through underwater archaeology investigations during the past decades, and which future investigations can be regarded as promising.
In the days preceding the congress a postgraduate training workshop was held, with 21 participants from 11 European countries. All of which contributed to the strategic goal which is the creation of a long-term network of all European bodies which deal with underwater archaeology.
The Third International Congress on Underwater Archaeology (IKUWA3) was held in London in 2008. The Congress saw the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) in conjunction with project partners, the Institute of Field Archaeologists, and the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, playing host to the largest conference on underwater archaeology ever held in Britain.
The congress was preceded by a three day professional development field school, and followed by optional excursions.
Project partners included UNESCO, the British Academy, Historic Scotland, and English Heritage.
IKUWA3 Field School
The IKUWA3 field school focused on the debate in UK archaeology on what, how and why archaeologists record the remains of boats and ships. It aimed to demonstrate through practical sessions the range of new recording methodologies available to maritime archaeologists.
Although reference was made to a variety of boat and ship remains including the Newport Ship and the SS Great Britain, the field school focused on the remains of the Princes Channel Wreck or Gresham Ship, a Tudor ship dating to around 1574 that was discovered in the River Thames in 2003.
IKUWA4 was held in October 2011 in Zadar, Croatia, where the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology has been established under UNESCO's auspices. The theme of IKUWA4 was "Managing the underwater cultural heritage".
The book IKUWA3 now available from the NAS Shop.