A value-based model for capability building in maritime archaeology in the developing world

Mark Staniforth, Paddy O’Toole

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Capability building enables people, groups, organisations and nations to achieve a greater range of activities. A programme of capability building activities in Vietnam over the past decade provides the case study for this paper. From these activities and the progress of the programme we have constructed a model of capability building that deals with maritime archaeology and underwater cultural heritage. The model is based on a value proposition that maritime archaeology is the only ethical way of dealing with underwater cultural heritage, which we believe is a world resource that belongs to current and future generations.
The aim of this paper is to explain how the elements of our value-based model interact to establish and enhance capability through knowledge capital development.

Our notion of capability building is based on a process taking place over an extended period of time, which is considered necessary to achieve long term change or at least critical reflection on the part of the host organisation. In practical terms, this causes a direct exposure to the ethical and disciplinary tenets of maritime archaeology on the part of the host organisation, but
some congruence of values is considered critical in order to achieve effective outcomes. The programme is based on principles of commitment to empowerment, participative learning, learning reinforcement mechanisms, and intensive communication with the stakeholders of the host organisation. We argue that training alone does not work and so the model encompasses an
integrated approach by supplementing training in a variety of forms with advice, mentoring, academic research and cultural heritage management- based approaches to help answer specific problems faced by the host organisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShared Heritage
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Sixth International Congress for Underwater Archaeology
Editors Jennifer A. Rodrigues, Arianna Traviglia
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781784916435
ISBN (Print)9781784916428
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventShared Heritage: Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress for Underwater Archaeology - Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle, Australia
Duration: 28 Nov 20162 Dec 2016
Conference number: IKUWA6


ConferenceShared Heritage


  • capability building
  • maritime archaeology
  • Vietnam
  • value-based model


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