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CMU hosts conference on underwater cultural artifacts


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Wayne Lusardi, state maritime archaeologist, presents at the Underwater Cultural Resources Public Access and Research Conference on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the Courtyard by Marriott at Central Michigan University. Lusardi's presentation is on his professional paper, "Flightless Birds! Military Aircraft in the Great Lakes."

Archaeologists from around the Midwest joined the Central Michigan University community at its first underwater culture conference Feb. 25-27 at the Courtyard by Marriott.

The Underwater Cultural Resources Public Access and Research Conference focused on examining the public access to underwater cultural resources in Michigan.

"This particular meeting is intended to recalibrate our efforts to preserve and use underwater cultural resources, which include shipwrecks, downed aircraft and all kinds of things humans have used over time," Martin said. "Just about everything you can imagine humans have ever used is on the bottoms of our lakes and rivers."

Several CMU students and professionals in the field presented their research on the cultural resources in the Great Lakes. 

"The reason we were so focused on having students be involved is... we’re preparing for a whole new generation to take over with all these opportunities," Martin said. "Many of our students have spoken at the conference and have highlighted their research."

Students from CMU's "Shipwreck Central: Getting to the Bottom of Great Lakes History" course were required to present at the event, including Midland sophomore Kendalyn Town.

"I came up with my topic (environmental impacts of Great Lakes shipwrecks) because I’m an environmental science major and I’m passionate about environmental issues," Town said. "Our professor had suggested this topic, and I thought it was a perfect fit for my interests."

In addition to student research, professionals in the field of maritime archaeology presented their research and scholarly papers.

The conference was funded by the Coastal Fund Management Program.

"This conference is going to help to determine... perhaps what a new set of partners here at CMU and beyond are going to be," Martin said. "So we’re at ground zero for future research in Great Lakes cultural research."

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