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Maritime Archaeology – presented by the SA Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society

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  • Bragg's Lecture Theatre, University of Adelaide
    North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

Associate Professor Jonathan Benjamin is a specialist in the archaeology of submerged landscapes, Pleistocene-Holocene transitions and applied methods in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology at Flinders University.

Dr Benjamin's research interests include past human transitions and cultural migrations, the inundation of coastal sites and the resulting impacts on past societies. He is an expert in diver-based photographic and photogrammetric recording, 3D site recording and the advancement of methods in maritime and underwater archaeology.

In a first discovery of its kind, Jonathan and his team uncovered an ancient Aboriginal archaeological site preserved on the seabed off the Pilbara coast in WA.

Over the past four years a team of archaeologists, rock art specialists, geomorphologists, geologists, specialist pilots and scientific divers utilised navigation charts, geological maps and archaeological sites located on the land to narrow down prospective areas before surveying the seabed using laser scanners mounted on small planes and high-resolution sonar towed behind boats.

In the final phase, the team of scientific divers carried out underwater archaeological surveys to physically examine, record and sample the seabed. Environmental data and radiocarbon dates show these sites must have been older than 7,000 years when they were submerged by rising seas.