Physical work-out and food for thought

During the two months that we have been here, we have been training for the diving course. This is because the diving course requires us to pass a physical fitness test with the following tasks:

  • 1000m surface swim without fins in under 30 minutes
  • 2.5 km run in under 15 minutes
  • 25 m underwater swim without fins (fully submerged)
  • 1 minute breath holding in swimming pool at 2 m depth

Most of these tasks are not that hard, but we had to practice for the 25 meter underwater swim and the 1 minute breath holding. The reason for the fitness test is that professional (scientific) diving requires a high degree of physical and psychological fitness. That is also the reason that we have to pass a diving medical examination. This medical examination consists of a lung x-ray, blood test and a cardio test. The training paid off and we passed the fitness test last week. The medical examination will be in the first week of November.

The track where we did the 2,5 kilometer run test.
The track where we did the 2,5 kilometer run test.

The diving course consists of a theoretical and a practical part. During the course we will also get diving first aid lessons. The price for the course is DKK 13,500 (or +/- 1800 euro). This fee covers all the course material, the diving logbook, diving first aid manual, transport, etc. Alternatively a course fee of DKK 20,400 (or +/- 2750 euro) includes a personalized made to measure (MTM) membrane drysuit and a diving hood. It is also possible to buy an undersuit through school for a reduced price. We bought the drysuit and the undersuit, because we did not have either yet.

The diving course starts at November the 17th. We could actually choose to do the diving course in November or in May. This is because the diving course works best with 8 people at a time and so the class needs to be split up. We chose November, because when we have our diving license there will be opportunities throughout the year to work on different projects. One of these projects is for instance the one in Ribe, that we talked about in the previous blog. We hope to get a lot of diving experience this year!

Apart from the diving course we have off course been following classes at the university. This semester we have 3 classes:

Archaeology and Management

This course focuses on archaeological (underwater) heritage management. The purpose of this course is to give us practical and theoretical tools concerned with the identification, protection, management and preservation of the material remains of human activity in the past (of whatever period and in whichever region of the world) and with the interaction that this involves with all kinds of stakeholders. What we have done during this course for instance is to discuss the differences in laws and legislations in the different countries that we are from. This is to establish an international overview of the conditions for the maritime archaeological work.

Man and Sea

This course gives thorough knowledge of the complex history of human activity by and on the sea. We get a chronological and thematic overview of central aspects of the maritime history of mankind from the Stone Age until now. The course focuses on how mutually related spheres such as fishing, transport, trade and technology have formed human society along and across the seas in constant interaction with the natural environment.

Introduction to Methods in Maritime Archaeology

As you might be able to tell, the other courses are more theoretical courses with a lot of reading and discussions. The methods course is a more practical one, it focuses on the methods and techniques used in maritime archaeological field work. During this course we get a thorough knowledge of the tools that are available to a maritime archaeologist. Significantly, we will have a research-based insight into the key questions to be asked in connection with a maritime archaeological survey in different phases. To pass this course we have to do a group assignment in  which we have to make a 3d-model of a small boat. The small boats are situated in the local fishery museum (Fiskeri- og Søfartsmuseet, Esbjerg). Different methods can be used to record the boat, like drawing, photogrammetry or measuring with the Total Station. A combination of these methods can off course also be used.

Work in progress on the computer vision photogrammetry model for one of the small boats
Work in progress on the computer vision photogrammetry model for one of the small boats

Last Friday we went out to the ‘Konserveringscenter Vest’ in Olgod. Our professor for archaeological methods, Jens Auer, was asked to look at and record a stempost of a ship that was found in a fishing net. A stempost is the main foremost (vertical) timber of a wooden boat that is fastened to the end of the keel. It forms the main part of the bow and extends to the deck or even above deck. The stempost is almost 6 meters long and probably has an English origin. When we got there, we first got an interesting tour through the conservation center.

The tour through the conservation center
The tour through the conservation center

Afterwards we recorded the stempost. We made photos and videos in order to make a photogrammetry model of the stempost. We also made sketches and recorded the stempost using a Total Station. During the maritime programme there will be a lot of these practical exercises, which are really nice because they give us hands-on experience!

We are really looking forward to the diving course! When it starts in November we will keep you updated on our progress in this blog.


Robert de Hoop

Nicole Schoute

Over Maritiem Programma

Het Maritiem Programma van de Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed houdt zich bezig met het onderzoek naar scheepswrakken, bruggen, havens en andere maritieme landschappen. Het doel is om kennis, onderzoek, beleid, samenwerking en educatie op het gebied van maritiem erfgoed in Nederland een stevige basis te geven. Het programma loopt van 2012 tot en met 2015.

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