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Advantages of Centre in Thailand

The transfer of the venue of the regional training facility to Thailand has several advantages:

  1. Thailand is centrally located and is the air transportation hub in the Asian-Pacific region. It also has excellent infrastructure which facilitates inland travel and provision of required services, including medical attention.

  2. Project activities can easily be supervised and monitored by the UNESCO Bangkok Office;

  3. The Thai Government has provided a suitable building for the Centre in Chanthaburi, with adequate space for the offices, lecture room, accommodation and dining facilities for trainers and trainees. The building is located beside the docking area of the diving vessel, beside the Chanthaburi River.

  4. The Underwater Archaeology Division (UAD) of Thailand has a long experience in underwater archaeology, going back to 1974. The UAD has collaborated with the SEAMEO-SPAFA (the Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts of the Southeast Asian Minister of Education Organization) in implementing training programmes in underwater archaeology for member countries in Southeast Asia. It has more than adequate resources to support the activities of the regional field training facility, as follows:

    • Its well-equipped offices and laboratory facilities are located near the regional training facility.

    • It has a highly qualified staff including two archaeologists and a team of diving technicians who are formerly with the Thai Navy. Diving experience of the team includes snorkelling surveys, scuba diving, SSE, rebreather and trimix, up to 70 metres of depth.

    • It is fully equipped with modern diving equipment, finds handling equipment, an inflatable boat, and adequate tools and equipment for archaeological work underwater. UAD has a new large diving vessel which has already been used for the field diving exercises of the first two Foundation Courses. The diving vessel is fully furnished and equipped. A new decompression chamber will soon be installed on board.

    • The UAD operates with high safety standard and collaborates closely with the Thai Navy.

    • The Thai Government and the Fine Arts Department are very supportive of the UAD, and have provided all the equipment that the division requires.

  5. A modern naval hospital is located very near the wreck sites selected for use by the Centre. As a standard operating procedure, the Naval Hospital is in constant contact with the UAD diving team during their regular operations in the sea.

  6. The National Maritime Museum (under the Fine Arts Department) is located within the compound where the offices of the UAD are located. The museum has a veritable collection of artefacts retrieved from underwater, as well as scale models of Thai traditional seacrafts that can be used for the training activities of the centre.

  7. The Faculty of Archaeology of the Bangkok-based Silpakorn University has expressed its interest to be a partner in project implementation. The Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology was the former Director of the Underwater Archaeology Division. Moreover, the UAD had organized several field training programmes in maritime archaeology for archaeology students of Silpakorn University.

  8. A significant number of underwater archaeological sites in Thailand have already been investigated in collaboration with foreign partners of internationally accepted standards. As such, there is a large material culture and knowledge base that can be of use by the regional field training centre.