Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2019

Thesis Advisor(s)

Helen Rozwadowski

Honors Major



History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


This thesis shall explore the role treasure hunters and academic archaeologists played in developing the field of underwater archaeology in the 1950s and 1960s and the relationships they had with each other. The phrase “treasure hunters” refers to amateur divers and salvagers who took an interest in uncovering underwater archaeological artifacts while having no official academic qualifications for archaeology. On the contrary, the phrase “academic archaeologists” refers to those who received professional degrees in archaeology through the traditional academic methods as well as those working for various research institutions. While treasure hunting has and continues to be a hindrance on the preservation and historical analysis of maritime history that underwater archaeology has achieved, it is revealed that some amateur divers and treasure hunters took an active interest in promoting the ideals and methods of underwater archaeology and played a vital role in the full professionalization of the field.