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Image: Pekka Tuuri / Finnish Maritime Archaeological Society

International maritime archaeology in Helsinki


What is maritime archaeology and what kind of research is being carried out in the world right now? The topics include famous wrecks, historic ports and mapping of deep-sea locations, but also the archaeology of recycling and the maritime cultural heritage of coastal areas. The Finnish Heritage Agency, Finnish Maritime Archaeological Society and University of Helsinki will be together running the IKUWA7 International Congress for Underwater Archaeology at the University of Helsinki from 6 to 9 June 2022. The congress was first organised in Germany in 1999 and most recently held in Australia in 2016.

7th International Congress for Underwater Archaeology (IKUWA), 6–9 June 2022

Maritime archaeology involves wide-ranging and multidisciplinary research. The presentations at the Ikuwa7 Congress will explore maritime perspectives on topics such as climate change, inland waterways, and ritualistic and cognitive signs within the maritime landscape.

The International Congress, which is usually held every four years, offers a unique opportunity to see and hear presentations from around the world on maritime cultural heritage. The three-day event features almost 130 presentations and participation from more than 200 maritime archaeology experts.

The general public can participate in the congress by purchasing a day ticket (€60) in the entrance lobby of Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3). Also on offer on Thursday 9 June is a live webcast which will include 13 interesting presentations.

Access webcast

Underwater cultural heritage

Underwater cultural heritage can be found across all the oceans of our planet, but it has been exceptionally well preserved in the Baltic Sea. Good examples are the much-publicised and almost entirely intact wooden shipwrecks, such as Vrouw Maria, Huis de Warmelo, and medieval merchant ships that date back as far as the 13th century, which are also presented in the congress.

Maritime cultural heritage is an integral part of both “blue growth” and marine science, a field which is constantly generating new knowledge about the historical use of marine resources and humans’ relationship with the sea. Indeed, research in maritime archaeology is currently very topical also at the international level, with the UN having recently proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

In strong civil societies, such as the UK and Finland, a significant proportion of the research, protection work and training related to our underwater cultural heritage is the product of citizen science, which means studies of wrecks carried out by scientific associations of voluntary divers.

The teaching on the subject available in Finland depicts well the diverse and multidisciplinary nature of maritime archaeology. Since as early as 1995, the University of Helsinki has been offering teaching on maritime archaeology in cooperation with professional maritime archaeologists. Students have the chance to become acquainted with the field at many levels, from academic research through to practical maritime archaeology work. The Finnish Scientific Diving Academy, for example, has been established at the University of Helsinki and currently offers courses in which students can learn about maritime archaeological tasks in practice by participating in actual dives.

IKUWA7 on social media

Twitter: @ikuwaseven7
Facebook: IKUWAseven
Hashtag: #ikuwa7

Further information

Congress website
Congress programme
Media portal for the congress

Excerpts from the IKUWA7 programme (pdf)
The attachment below contains a few excerpts from the congress’s extensive programme as well as details of researchers who may be of interest to the general public and will be available for interviews during the conference. Biographies and presentations of the highlighted researchers as well as free image material available as high-resolution images and videos.

Contact persons

Kristin Ilves, University of Helsinki, Kristin.ilves@helsinki.fi +358 (0)50 556 0340

Kalle Virtanen, Finnish Maritime Archaeological Society, ikuwa7@mas.fi, +358 (0)41 524 2273

Minna Koivikko, Finnish Heritage Agency, minna.koivikko@museovirasto.fi, +358 (0)295 33 6215