The aims and purposes of the Wisconsin Underwater Archeological Association since its founding in 1990 is to provide access to information pertaining to underwater archeology statewide and provide training to perform underwater site surveys.
WUAA's semi-annual meetings (spring and fall) are held around the state, and incorporate a training workshop. Past meetings have taken place at the Milwaukee Public Library, Door County Library, UW-Oshkosh Archaeology Lab, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Lottie Cooper Shipwreck Exhibit in Sheboygan, and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum at Manitowoc. Here, WUAA members participated in workshops in underwater archaeological site mapping, historic ship construction methods, use of archives in conducting historical research, artifact dating and identification, and other topics. Workshop participants have an opportunity to visit various research facilities, get behind the scenes tours of facilities and collections, meet and talk with staff, learn about upcoming training and fieldwork opportunities, and just have fun meeting new people!
Classroom and in-water training sessions in underwater site survey techniques have been offered at several locations around the state. Pearl Lake has run a PADI approved Research Diver course with WUAA assistance and support.
WUAA promotes research and education in underwater archeology in Wisconsin and the surrounding Great Lakes.
WUAA members have assisted with the following state underwater archaeological survey projects:
Steamer Louisiana, Door County
Steamer R.J. Hackett, Door County
Pilot Island Wrecks, Door County
Steamer Frank O'Connor, Door County
Schooner-barge Adriatic, Sturgeon Bay
Steamer Selah Chamberlain, Sheboygan
Steamer Niagara, Port Washington
Dyreson Fish Weir, Dane County
Steamer Francis Hinton, Manitowoc
Tug Arctic, Manitowoc
Rock Lake Survey, Jefferson County
Lac de Flambeau Survey, Vilas County
Rest Lake Survey, Vilas County
Roy's Point Survey, Bayfield County
Schooner-barge Pretoria, Apostle Islands
The following projects were conducted under WUAA's direction:
Bullhead Point Wrecks, Sturgeon Bay (barges Oak Leaf, Ida Corning, Empire State) Leathem and Smith Quarry Wrecks, Sturgeon Bay (former steamers Muller and J.L. Hurd)
WUAA distribute results of research projects to members and the general public.
The WUAA quarterly newsletter, Underwater Heritage, will help keep you abreast of underwater archaeological activities in the state, and contains the latest news on underwater archaeology, shipwreck preservation projects, and tips on research methods and technology. WUAA has published a report on its study of the old "stone fleet" ships wrecked near the Leathem and Smith Quarry near Sturgeon Bay, and is preparing a publication on the history and lore of the Madison/Four Lakes area. WUAA has also contributed to a series of studies published by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin on Great Lakes shipwrecks and the Charles E. Brown Archaeological Society's research along the Yahara River in Dane County. A report on the WUAA-assisted survey of the steamer Niagara is also in preparation.
WUAA in cooperation with organizations interested in underwater archeological resources.
WUAA maintains a close working relationship with the state underwater archaeology program, is an affiliate member of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and is an institutional member of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History and the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society. WUAA has also worked with many other organizations interested in the study and preservation of Wisconsin's maritime heritage, including:
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
National Park Service
Charles E. Brown Archaeological Society
Four Lakes Scuba Club, Madison
Port Washington Historical Society
Tribal Preservation Office Lac de Flambeau Band Lake Superior Chippewa
U.S. Forest Service/State Archaeology Region 2 Center
Wisconsin Maritime Museum at Manitowoc
WUAA promotes the conservation and preservation of underwater archeological resources and sites.
WUAA fully supports the preservation of our archaeological heritage, and works with state agencies, various organizations, and the general public to promote active stewardship and protection of archaeological sites. Recent state and federal legislation has made it illegal to disturb, remove, or destroy artifacts and underwater archaeological sites, including historic shipwrecks, in Wisconsin state waters. Violators face stiff fines of up to $5,000 and possible confiscation of boats and equipment. WUAA has worked with the state on the development of sound legislation to preserve our underwater heritage, and helped with the passage of 1993 Wisconsin Act 169, which authorizes the creation of underwater preserves and provides better protection for underwater archaeological sites. WUAA members also serve on the State Submerged Resources Council, which advises the state on the management and preservation of these non-renewable resources. WUAA is an ideal way for sport divers to get involved in the fascinating study of underwater archaeology and our maritime heritage, and is also a great way to help preserve our underwater resources for present and future generations.