To sea or not to sea
2nd international colloquium on Maritime and Fluvial Archaeology in the southern North Sea area
Bruges, 21-23 September 2006
English Nederlands Français Deutsch
introduction objectives programme subprogramme posters downloads


In July 2003 the former Institute for the Archaeological Heritage (IAP), now the Flemish Heritage Institute (VIOE), was asked to increase its focus on maritime archaeology and develop adequate strategies for the study, communication and management of this valuable heritage. Until now maritime archaeology hadn’t been a real priority in Belgium. The colloquium aims to contribute substantially to the development of these strategies and to foster collaboration in maritime archeology in the southern North Sea.

The colloquium will concentrate on four themes related to maritime and fluvial archaeology: research, conservation, communication and legislation. Posters dealing with any topic related to maritime and fluvial heritage are welcome. Simultaneous translation Dutch/English; Dutch/French and English/French will be available.

Exhibition 'Drowned Past'

The colloquium 'To Sea or not To Sea' coincides with the organisation of an exhibition entitled 'Drowned Past'. This exhibition offers an overview of maritime archaeological research in Belgium and sheds light on a number of famous maritime archaeological projects abroad.

The exhibition is built around a selection of maritime archaeological finds. Comprehensive information can be found on richly illustrated quadrilingual text panels.

We hope to attract a wide international public and to acquaint as many visitors as possible with the valuable but severely threatened underwater heritage.

Location: Provinciaal Hof, Grote Markt 3, 8000 Brugge.

Opening hours: in September, every day from 10am to 5pm

Admission: free.

download Book of Abstracts
download poster


The coordination of the organisation is in the hands of the VIOE. Local organiser at VIOE: Marnix Pieters.

Organising committee
  • Marnix Pieters, Inge Zeebroek, Ine Demerre (VIOE)
  • Glenn Gevaert (Province of West-Flanders-Museum Walraversijde )
  • Jan Mees, Jan Seys (VLIZ)
  • Hubert De Witte, Stephane Vandenberghe (City of Bruges )
  • Jan Parmentier (UGent)
  • Pierre Kerckaert, Denis Maly (MBZ)
  • Nathalie Balcaen, Guido Dumon, Philippe Formesyn, Vincent Vaninghelandt (Coastal Division)
  • Martin Van Dromme, Bart Schiltz (vzw maritieme archeologie)
  • Alain Bedeur (vzw Nata)
  • Rudi Baert (vzw Nelos)
The co-organizing partners are:
  • Province of West-Flanders-Museum Walraversijde
  • VLIZ (Flanders Marine Institute)
  • MBZ (Port Authority Zeebrugge)
  • City of Bruges
  • Ministry of Flanders, Coastal Division
  • University of Ghent
  • VZW Nata
  • VZW Maritieme Archeologie
  • VZW Nelos

Information on the first colloquium

The East Kent Maritime Trust in association with the Nautical Archaeological Society organised at the Conference Centre-Pfizer Ltd. Sandwich, Kent from Friday 28th April to Monday 1st May 2000 an International Maritime Heritage Conference 'It's about Time…' Conference themes were: Maritime Time-Navigation through the ages-maritime weather, shipwrecks & artefacts and the role of maritime museums. Bob Peacock of the organising committee of the Sandwich colloquium authorised the present colloquium 'To sea or not to sea' to be organised as a second in a series started at Sandwich.


Organised by:

General coordination: Marnix Pieters
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