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Ulster Divers Train At New Facility In Egypt

5 May 2010

University of Ulster divers have been training maritime archaeologists in the historic Egyptian port of Alexandria.

Staff from Ulster’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) at the Coleraine campus, recently took part in a training workshop hosted by Alexandria University’s new Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Heritage.

Dr Colin Breen from Ulster’s CMA, which is based within the School of Environmental Science, acted as a consultant during the new Centre’s establishment as a state-of-the-art facility.

The 10-day training course attracted 15 archaeologists based around north and east Africa, who wished to gain an insight into the challenges of working underwater.

The course was carried out in collaboration with staff from Alexandria University, Southampton University, the Nautical Archaeology Society and the British Museum.

It involved all aspects of survey, documentation, and management of archaeological sites and artefacts from maritime environments and enabled students to gain practical experience by diving in Alexandria’s eastern harbour.

Dr Breen said: “This course builds upon previous specialised workshops the University has delivered aimed at improving awareness and developing management skills in dealing with maritime archaeology under threat in Africa.”During their stay Ulster’s divers were also granted rare access to explore the underwater remains of the famous Pharos lighthouse – one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Ulster’s Dr Wes Forsythe, also based at the CMA, added: “The training programme provided a great opportunity not only for the region’s archaeologists, but for us to use the best facility in Africa and of course dive on one of the world’s greatest underwater archaeological sites.”