CoastSnap User meeting and workshop in Toulouse (France)

Caridad Ballesteros

On 18th June 2019 the first CoastSnap User meeting took place in Toulouse (France) under the umbrella of Boot Camp Coastal Imaging 2019, organised by Dr Mitch Harley from the University of New South Wales, Australia. This was the first time the CoastSnap site owners have gathered together to discuss best practice, to share ideas and to learn key project tools. Starting in Australia, CoastSnap has been spreading around the world since 2017 with current sites in the UK, France, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and others. CoastSnap is a citizen science project in which participants take pictures of a beach from a particular viewpoint using a fixed metal stand. The stand holds the smartphones and ensures pictures are always taken from the same position. These pictures are later shared with the project team using social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) or email, and users are instructed to indicate the date and time the picture was taken. This simple idea allows the project team to build, over time, a database of images to understand shoreline behaviour, to analyse erosion, recovery cycles and storm impacts.

During the meeting, all users presented the first results and analysis for their site, as well as any difficulties experienced. I was there to present CoastSnap Mozambique, one of the 19 Rising from the Depths networkfunded projects. CoastSnap Mozambique will be the first site in Africa, which really excited the CoastSnap team, as this could bring new ways to obtain records in countries with a severe shortage of coastal data. Although it was not possible to present any outputs yet, as the CoastSnap stations will be installed in Mozambique later this month, I was really happy to present the relevance of a citizen science project in Mozambique, not only to record data in shoreline dynamics, but also to understand local perceptions of natural and cultural heritage.

CoastSnap team at Meeting

I noticed that there was something missing in all of the presentations, and that was the level of involvement of the local community. From the viewpoint of CoastSnap Mozambique, this is one of the strongest aspects. It is for this reason that in parallel to the beach surveys and the installation of the CoastSnap station (the metal frame and information boards) we will be running workshops to present the project and to understand coastal communities’ views on the project. We will consult with them, and other potential uses, over the pictures collected during the project to tackle potential concerns and conflicts which could later be built into coastal management plans. We will design activities, alongside educators, which will be carried out in schools to integrate the project outputs within sociology, the arts and science, and this will cover aspects of coastal identity and cultural and ecosystem values.

During my time in Toulouse, I learned the most technical aspects of the project, involving the analysis of coastal imaging and shoreline change using MATLAB. The tool will enable the team to analyse the series of images shared by our users, allowing us to view the evolution of the coastline over time. I will be sharing this newly acquired knowledge with my co-Investigators based in Mozambique, and these skills will then be passed on to project students within their universities, so the project can become self-sustaining after the formal project end date.

Next week, Dr Luciana Esteves (BU) and I will be in Mozambique to join the rest of the team, Dr Jaime Palalane from Eduardo Mondlane University and Dr Pedrito Cambrao from Lurio University to set up the four CoastSnap Stations and to run community workshops at each location (see table below) to encourage participation and ownership of the project and to obtain the views and knowledge of the local population.

Location Date Activity
Ilha de Moçambique Tue 30th July Beach survey and CoastSnap Installation
Wed 31st July Workshop
Ponta do Ouro (Maputo) Thu 1st Aug Beach survey and CoastSnap Installation
Fri 2nd Aug Workshop  (location: Kaya-Kweru Resort)
Tofo beach (Inhambane) Mon 5th Aug Beach survey and CoastSnap Installation
Tue 6th Aug Workshop (location: Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo de Inhambane)

Kenya court ruling halts coal power project near Lamu World Heritage Site

New blog from Nottingham PhD researcher Wycliffe Omondi  on the recent ruling on the controversial Coal Plant construction near the UNESCO World Heritage site at Lamu.

Read it here:

Cyclone Idai – hunger and devastation in Mozambique

A very powerful article on the human stories behind the utter devastation caused by

Thanks to ⁦⁩ for taking the time to listen to them. It’s not too late to donate to ⁦

Marine heritage and sustainable development – Jon Henderson

I’m just back from the Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) 84th Annual Meeting in Albuquerque where I took part in the HumAnE Archaeology Session organised by Carly Ameen and Naomi Sykes from the University of Exeter. Through a series of papers the session looked at using combined human-animal-environmental (HumAnE) data and how that can be analysed using a variety of arts and science-based techniques to unpick and model long-term bio-cultural dynamics.

Archaeology has always been interdisciplinary but I think we are at an exciting point with sessions like this stressing how long-term archaeological data, bio-cultural data and deep time data can inform solutions to the current global problems facing humanity. Archaeologists are uniquely placed to contribute a deep-time perspective on contemporary humanitarian issues, like those identified in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which are not exclusively modern phenomenon. Deep-time archaeological data can be collated, analysed and presented to help inform solutions to modern global challenges such as the effects of intensive food production, urbanisation, globalisation, climate change, disease transmission and inter-cultural conflict.

Using data from Rising from the Depths, my paper examined the legacy of the oceans and how data from past marine exploitation can help inform the sustainable development agenda. SDG14 Life Below Water recognises the economic and social benefits that sustainable use of marine resources can provide, including enhanced food security, sustainable energy generation, and poverty eradication through marine orientated livelihood opportunities. Providing deep-time data over millennia, the marine archaeological resource has more to offer than solutions based on tourism. For example, coastal management strategies and conservation projects rely on short-term baseline data that, at best, cover little more than a century. As a result, projects and strategies put into place are limited, and do not fully reflect ecosystem dynamics or the relative resilience of different species to the effects of both human activities and changes driven by long term climatic and other environmental factors.

Next month I’m off to the 1st Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Global Planning Meeting for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in Copenhagen to make the case for considering marine heritage data in formulating sustainable solutions to the problems facing our oceans. While environmental sciences and ecological approaches have had a major role in the development of solutions, the potential role of marine cultural heritage as a usable resource and the long-term cultural importance of the marine environment are still not being properly considered. It is my belief that a marine cultural heritage outlook (prioritising human interaction with the sea in all its diversity) could provide the conceptual framework that unites, stimulates and informs interdisciplinary responses to the challenges set out in SDG 14. Wish me luck!

Mozambique Cyclone Disaster

We are shocked to see the awful news from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, where tropical cyclone Idai has caused widespread destruction and loss of life. While it is well known that low-lying coastal cities and towns are enormously vulnerable to sea-level rise and extreme weather events, current estimates suggest this the deadliest tropical cyclone on record to have hit southern Africa.

The cyclone made landfall at the port of Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, with officials reporting that almost every building in this city of more than 500,000 people has been damaged. Early estimates for Mozambique suggest that up to a 1,000 people may have died. With the infrastructure of the area destroyed and large areas of coastal land now underwater, the worry is that this disaster could affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

Mozambique is vulnerable to periodic flooding during the rainy season but the harrowing pictures of inland seas with houses submerged up to roof level and people stranded on them only serve to illustrate how catastrophic this event has been.

To donate to the relief effort follow the links below:

Remembering Sebastiano Tusa

A minute of silence to remember Sebastiano Tusa on Monday, 11 March at the UNESCO Ministerial meeting on Underwater Cultural Heritage in Malindi, Kenya.

Professor Tusa was on his way to the meeting to deliver the keynote speech when he was tragically killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash at Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The maritime archaeological world is in shock. Professor Tusa was an internationally renowned scholar and a champion of underwater archaeology in Italy and around the world. He was one of the drafters of the original UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and in 2004 was appointed as the first Superintendent of the Sea directing the Sicilian Soprintendenza del Mare marine archaeology team. More recently he was appointed Assesore for Cultural Heritage for the Government of Sicily. He directed archaeological projects in Italy, Malta, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Japan and Kenya and was the author of 700 archaeological publications.

He had great plans for future underwater research in Kenya.

We owe him so much. His passion and leadership will be greatly missed.


Snapshots of research in Maputo, Mozambique – Rosalie Hans

Being back in Mozambique for the first time since 2010 provides an interesting mixture of recognition, nostalgia and learning about the many changes the country has gone through in the last 9 years. I am fortunate to be here for one month for a pilot study on maritime museums and how these institutions can increase their role and relevance for their maritime communities. This collaborative project with Daniel Inoque of the Instituto Superior de Artes e Cultura has led us to research the Museu das Pescas in Maputo and the Museu da Marinha on Mozambique Island (Ilha de Moçambique). The first museum was opened in 2014 and shows the traditional fishing culture of the Mozambican coast in a modern building while the naval museum has been open since 1969 and forms part of a museum complex with the Palacio de São Paulo and the Museum of Sacred Art, located in a monumental building.


Apart from the challenge of speaking Portuguese the entire day, which I love but at times requires the patience of my colleagues, there are so many other aspects of the research that are not strictly speaking ‘research activities’ but nonetheless are necessary to make the research happen. While I was aware of this from my own PhD research in Kenya and Uganda, I still underestimated the time we are spending in meetings, making phone calls and negotiating administrative and infrastructural issues. As an early career researcher this is a useful lesson to be reminded of and hopefully the connections made and network built over these few weeks will be the foundations of future research in Mozambique on maritime cultural heritage.


The research so far, and the meetings with the fishing community of Costa do Sol in Maputo in particular, has been rewarding and insightful. The Conselho Comunitário de Pesca (CCP) or the Community Council of Fisheries is an active organisation at Costa do Sol, a neighbourhood known as Bairro dos Pescadores, where, unsurprisingly, the majority of people lives from artisanal (or small-scale) fishing. The president and secretary of the CCP helped us to invite different people to talk to about their perspective on fishing culture, their lives and current issues and challenges in their community and we conducted a number of interviews, returning another day for a group meeting. The different people we spoke to were keen to get across the importance of knowledge about different types of fish and preservation of the maritime ecosystem in Maputo Bay. While they showed pride in the boats they built, owned and maintained, the increase in the number of fishermen and the decrease of the average daily catch led our participants to conclude that they wanted a better life for their children outside of the fishing industry. They generally found that many Mozambicans and visitors were unaware of the hardships of fishing life.


In the Baixa of Maputo the Museu das Pescas is still developing its vision and direction for the future. The current indoor and outdoor exhibitions focus mainly on the material culture of the artisanal fishing industry but museum staff expressed plans to broaden its remit to include more of Mozambique’s diverse maritime heritage. We discussed how such an expansion could include the ideas of fishing communities, could be used to give visibility to the challenges of the fishing communities along the Mozambican coast and allow them to feel pride and ownership of their knowledge and skills.


The research continues this week in Mozambique Island, a UNESCO world heritage site in the north of Mozambique where centuries of global trade, occupation, resistance and renewal have led to a unique architectural mixture, with many different aspects of maritime cultural heritage to be considered. More on that in the next blog! Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome, just email me on!

Free online GIS course aimed at archaeologists

The gvSIG Association has provided a free online GIS course, covering a range of topics and using an open source software (gvSIG Desktop). There is no need to register for the course, and the content can be accessed from anywhere in the world. A post will be published each week on the gvSIG blog, containing a video tutorial with exercises and access to the course data. In order to complete the online course, participants must simply complete each tutorial. The course is available in both English and Spanish. For more details, see the gvSIG blog post here:

PhD Studentship, Law, University of Nottingham

Three-year Faculty of Social Sciences PhD studentship

School of Law, University of Nottingham

In connection with Rising from the Depths

Applications are invited for a Faculty of Social Sciences and International Office funded International PhD studentship granted in connection to a recent GCRF/AHRC-funded research project, Rising from the Depths Network: utilising marine cultural heritage in East Africa to help develop sustainable social, economic and cultural benefits. Applicants for the studentship must be African nationals, preferably but not limited to the countries which are the focus of the project, namely Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania or Madagascar.

The Rising from the Depths projects aims to identify ways in which marine cultural heritage can directly benefit coastal communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar.

The subject matter of the PhD proposal should in line with the scope, aims and objectives of Rising from the Depth project. Topics could include research relating to aid agreements, public private partnership, business sand human rights, investment law, public procurement and human rights or any aspect of the so-called Blue Economy in one or a combination of the countries which are the focus of the project – Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania or Madagascar. Though not necessarily driven by heritage the proposed topic should demonstrate its relevance to Marine Cultural Heritage in the region and express how the research could help create wider benefits for local communities.

The studentships will be based at the University of Nottingham (there is no provision for distance-learning PhDs) with a period, or periods, of research in the proposed study location if required. This studentship is available for three years full-time study (subject to satisfactory progression each year) and will be supervised by Dr Annamaria La Chimia (Law) and another academic selected dependent on the details of the chosen proposal. It will cover international tuition fees and provide an annual maintenance grant (stipend) matching Research Innovation UK recommendation – for 2017/18 £14,777 per annum, pro rata.

Applicants should have a degree in a relevant discipline (minimum requirement 2i UG level – or international equivalent) and a masters level degree, preferably LLM with a minimum of 65% in both the taught and dissertation elements (or international equivalent) in law or a related discipline. Our English language requirements are IELTS 7.0 overall (with 6.0 for listening and speaking; 6.5 for reading and 7.0 for writing).

Applications should be submitted by 30 November 2018 and we hope to interview short-listed candidates shortly afterwards (skype and video conferencing available). Successful applicants will be expected to start the PhD programme in January 2019.

The University of Nottingham’s Graduate School’s Research Training Programme offers a broad and comprehensive range of research training courses from ‘Using Archives in Your Research’, to ‘Pathways into Publishing’. The Graduate School also runs training targeted specifically at Faculty of Social Sciences students and the Arts and Social Sciences Graduate Centre coordinates training and events that are relevant and useful to research postgraduates in law.

How to apply

Applicants must be African nationals, preferably but not necessarily from m Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania or Madagascar.

Applicants should submit a full application – including a research proposal, two academic references, a writing sample (approximately 5,000 words) and transcripts from your previous degree(s). Additionally a curriculum vitae (no more than two pages) and a brief letter (no more than two pages) outlining qualification for the studentship will be required. Your full application and supporting documents must be received by 30 November 2018. Please note on your research proposal that you wish to be considered for the ‘Rising from the Depths’ studentship.

Informal enquiries may be directed to – candidates wishing to make an application are strongly recommended to get in touch with Annamaria before submission.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed (interviews can be conducted over Skype of video conference for those unable to attend in person).

Find out more about applying.

Posted on Friday 19th October 2018

Shipwrecks Index Survey – call for help from marine archaeologists

As part of the Rising from the Depths project, research at Bournemouth University is assessing how climate change, natural and human-induced hazards may affect Marine Cultural Heritage in East Africa. Within this context, shipwrecks are important resources to protect, as described by the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001 (UNESCO).


We are developing an exposure (or sensitivity) index for shipwrecks. We would be grateful if you can share your knowledge to help us better understand which factors are relevant to the conservation of shipwrecks, so we can identify suitable indicators.


The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete and can be found here.