The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology

2020 Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture

16 January 2021

The 2020 Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture will take place as a virtual event on Saturday 16 January 2021. This is a free event and tickets can be booked here.

The speaker will be Dr Dolores Elkin (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research, Argentina).

Archaeological research and heritage management of a British shipwreck in Argentina - The legacy of HMS Swift (1770)

HMS Swift was a British warship that sank in 1770 on the coast of Patagonia, in what later became Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The wreck was discovered in 1982 by local divers, in a very good state of preservation. Shortly thereafter the Swift site was declared historical heritage by the province of Santa Cruz and a museum was created with the purpose of hosting the entire artefact collection. With time, the need for a scientific investigation of the shipwreck and its contents became evident. This triggered the creation of the underwater archaeology team of the Argentinean National Institute of Anthropology, which performed this task over many field seasons.

This lecture will present the main results of the archaeological and interdisciplinary research conducted on the HMS Swift to date. Also, nearly four decades after its discovery, it will also reflect on the various legacies that this project has generated. Aside from the scientific knowledge of an 18th century shipwreck site, these include legislation, capacity building, international cooperation, museum activities, and an increasing connection with the community at various levels.

About the Speaker

Dolores Elkin is an Argentinean archaeologist with the country´s National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and she is based at the National Institute of Anthropology (Ministry of Culture). She graduated with a Doctoral degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1996, and that year she created the first Underwater Archaeology Program in the country. The goal was to start researching underwater archaeological sites also with the purpose of creating public awareness about such significant cultural heritage.

Throughout all these years she has been a Professor both at the University of Buenos Aires and the National University of the Central Province of Buenos Aires, contributing to the development of the speciality both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Being an experienced diver, that allows her to interact and conducted outreach initiatives within the sport and professional diving community.

Dolores has been in charge of several internationally and nationally funded projects, most of them involving shipwrecks from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries located in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. The outcomes are reflected in an extensive publication record, both academic and for the general public. She is permanently involved in national and international scientific meetings and is affiliated with various organizations. She is a member of an international advisory board to UNESCO in matters related with Underwater Cultural Heritage.

How to book

The lecture will be held virtually. Tickets are FREE and can be booked through Eventbrite by clicking here. Voluntary donations to our Community Engagement Award fund are very welcome and can be made through the booking page.