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Thailand as the Host to the Regional Field Training Centre on Underwater Archaeology

© UNESCO/A. Kiewmas


Due to the deteriorating peace and order situation in Sri Lanka, an alternative venue for the regional field training centre had to be sought.

The Government of Thailand graciously offered to host the regional Centre within the precincts of the Underwater Archaeology Division (UAD) of the Fine Arts Department, located in Chanthaburi, Thailand. 

The UAD has had a long experience in underwater archaeology since 1974 in collaboration with the Royal Thai Navy, SEAMEO‐SPAFA (the Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts of the Southeast Asian Minister of Education Organization) and the Faculty of Archaeology of the Silpakorn University. It also has more than adequate human and technical resources to support the activities of the Centre, including:

  • Professional staff of 2 maritime archaeologists and a diving team of ex‐navy personnel, fully equipped with necessary dive equipment (including SSE, re‐breather and trimix), materials, and finds handling tools. The staff operates under high safety standard and collaborates closely with the Royal Thai Navy.

  • The UAD has a fully-equipped diving boat (capacity of up to 30 persons) with its own decompression chamber and inflatable boat.

  • A building near the offices of UAD in Chanthaburi has been retrofitted to house the facilities (including accommodation for trainers and trainees) of the Centre.

  • Located besides the offices of the UAD, the National Maritime Museum showcasing a veritable collection of maritime artefacts has been used for training and research activities of the Centre.

  • A modern naval hospital, Phra Pok Klao College Hospital, is located in near proximity to the wreck sites selected for the purposes of the Centre.

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