On 13th November 2015 the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) organised the symposium 'Vrijwilligers in de onderwater archeologie’ (volunteers in underwater archaeology). They wanted to redefine how people perceive collaboration between all involved groups, from volunteers and archaeological companies to local governments, supervisory authorities, and managers. The symposium covered a range of issues, with particular emphasis on improving mutual collaboration.

RCE bijeenkomst

In preparation for this event, the Cultural Heritage Agency asked David Bouman of Maritime Research and Consultancy (MR&C) to conduct independent research on the relationship between volunteers and professionals in the field of underwater archaeology. In the summer of 2015, David interviewed sixty wreck divers and amateur archaeologists. The report found that the key to improved collaboration is the passion shared by wreck divers, amateur archaeologists, and the RCE. Communication, openness, and self-reflection on behalf of both the RCE and the divers were important preconditions.

Download: MR&C Final Report