• surveying techniques
  • creating site grids
  • site reporting
  • underwater drawing
  • underwater photography and photogrammetry
  • metal detecting
  • artifact recovery

Field schools are great programs for anyone interested in a career in underwater archaeology, or enthusiasts who would like to be completely immersed in maritime history.


These are usually shorter trips focused on the exploration of remote shipwreck sites in off the beaten path locations.

The focus of these trips is usually shipwreck discovery and basic documentation using underwater photography and photogrammetry. We tend to visit many different sites during an expedition. As these are true adventures, living and working conditions might be a bit more basic than during our field schools. Expeditions are suited to both enthusiasts and students who are looking for a unique experience in underwater archaeology.


Ruud Stelten

All our programs are led by experienced maritime archaeologist Ruud Stelten. Born in the Netherlands, Ruud earned BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees in archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University.

After working in Dutch commercial archaeology for over a year, Ruud became the island archaeologist on St. Eustatius in the Dutch Caribbean in 2011. Since then, he has directed numerous underwater and terrestrial archaeological projects and field schools, teaching hundreds of students on various islands such as Mauritius, Martinique, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St. Eustatius, and Bonaire. In 2016, he founded Terramar Museum, a new archaeological museum on Bonaire. A year later, he founded The Shipwreck Survey in order to focus fully on underwater archaeological research and exploration. In addition to his work at The Shipwreck Survey, Ruud is also an associate lecturer at Flinders University in Australia. Ruud has been diving for nearly two decades. He is a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and Specialty Instructor with experience diving all over the world. Besides archaeology, his big passion is underwater photography.

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Alex Hinton

Alex Hinton is an American archaeologist who graduated Stony Brook University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Since then, she has divided her archaeological career between St. Eustatius and the United States.

Alex was Director of the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research from 2021 to 2022. Her research on St. Eustatius has focused primarily on maritime archaeological projects, but she has extensive experience in terrestrial archaeology as well. Besides being a vital part of The Shipwreck Survey’s field team, Alex brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the lab, where she leads the artifact conservation and documentation processes. She is currently finishing her Masters degree in maritime archaeology at Flinders University, focusing on underwater site formation processes for her thesis.

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Training facilities and equipment

At The Shipwreck Survey we have all the facilities necessary to carry out an archaeological project from start to finish. Our laboratories are spacious and well equipped to conserve artifacts and process data.

Our air-conditioned presentation rooms are equipped with large screens and provide ample workspace.

We conduct our training with top of the line equipment to ensure participants are using the latest technology in the field. For geophysical surveys, we use a Starfish 452F side scan sonar. A Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II metal detector is used to investigate metal targets in the seabed. For underwater photography, videography, and photogrammetry we use high-end Canon and Olympus mirrorless cameras with a variety of lenses and underwater housings. For deeper research, we have a BlueROV2 Remotely Operated Vehicle that is depth rated to 300m/1,000ft.

Data processing is done with programs used throughout the industry, such as Agisoft Metashape, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro. We use well-maintained Aqualung dive equipment and Garmin dive computers to ensure safe and productive dives.