Riikka Alvik has an MA in archaeology (Helsinki University) and has archaeological research diver training. She has a permanent work as a maritime archaeologist / intendant at Finnish Heritage Agency, and is now on a study leave working as a doctoral student at Helsinki University. The working title of her PhD is “Things Onboard. Shipwreck Artefacts and Cultural Transfusion in the Baltic Area in the Late 18th Century.”

Before her study leave, she has worked on several projects like the ongoing project BALTACAR, which is about underwater cultural heritage and underwater parks and earlier she was in the project “Vrouw Maria Underwater” (2009-2012). She was responsible of the archaeological research conducted at the wreck of Dutch cargo vessel Vrouw Maria which sunk in 1771. She has also worked on the international Monitoring, Safeguarding and Visualizing North - European Shipwreck Sites - project (MoSS) as a curator and project leader between August 2003 and July 2004. Shipwrecks with their multiple contents are her main study area, and her interest is to develop new, multidisciplinary methods to analyse and interpret the archaeological findings from the wrecks.

Photo: Riikka Alvik



Kristin Ilves is an Assistant Professor in Maritime Archaeology at Helsinki University. She graduated as an archaeologist from Tartu University, Estonia, in 2001, and completed her MA studies (2004) there, before obtaining her PhD (2012) from Uppsala University, Sweden. Her background is in maritime archaeology, with special interests in the maritime cultural landscape studies. She is currently focusing in relating climate, environment, and culture change to each other and is particularly drawn to the construction of island identities. She has an extensive fieldwork experience and a fascination in the development of innovative techniques for the presentation of archaeological sites to public and professional audiences.

Photo: Kjell Söderlund


Minna Koivikko is a maritime archaeologist, working at the Finnish Heritage Agency as a project leader. The project is part of the international research programme The Lost Navy, Sweden’s ”Blue” Heritage c. 1450–1850, which is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. Project partners include the Centre for Maritime Studies (CEMAS) of Stockholm University, the maritime and transport history museums of Sweden, and the Finnish Heritage Agency. In Finland, the research project The End of Glory Days? Biography of the Swedish wrecks as “Blue” Heritage of Sveaborg focuses on Suomenlinna and the shipwrecks around it. This is continuation for her PhD project, which was approved with honours at the Helsinki University in 2017. Koivikko is a certificated research diver (AESD, Advanced European Scientific Diver), and currently practising rebreather diving. Her special interest are human behaviour, recycling and climate change, and to improve interpretations of unidentified wooden skeleton wrecks.

Tel. +358 40 295 33 6215, minna.koivikko@museovirasto.fi

Photo: Jesse Jokinen



Kati Laasonen is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, translator and head of the board of Aporia publishing company. She enjoys teaching recreational divers in small diving club Plutot pd and is in the board of the Finnish maritime archaeological society (MAS). Her other passions are Shakespeare, theatre and opera, not to forget red wine. At the moment she is deep in the mire of finalizing the translation and publishing of the first marine archaeological hand book in Finnish (Underwater Archaeology: The NAS Guide to Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition, edit Amanda Bowens).

Photo: Matti Jalava


Matias Laitinen is a maritime archaeologist working in the Finnish Aviation Museum as a Head of Collections. He has MA in archaeology from the University of Helsinki. In 1995 he certified as a Skipper for Domestic Service from the Maritime College of Rauma and worked in traditional sailing ships in 1990’s. Laitinen has been a diver since 1988 and CMAS Instructor from 1994. In 1996 he became certified Scientific Diver (AESD) and 1997-2009 he worked also as a Scientific Diver Instructor. He was one of the founding members of the Finnish Scientific Diving Steering Committee and later Finnish Scientific Diving Steering Association. Laitinen worked several years in Finnish Heritage Agency as a scientific diver and maritime archaeologists and was a lecturer in University of Helsinki for basics of maritime archaeology. Lately his research interests have focused on underwater wrecks of aircraft and naval engagements in the Gulf of Finland. His free time he spends sailing classic boats and traditional sailing ships and building scale models of aircraft and ships.

Photo: Mari Pitkäaho


Dr Mika Lavento is Professor in Archaeology at the University of Helsinki. He has widely studied the prehistory and early history in the inland regions of Finland and neighboring countries, including the emergence of agriculture. He has written his PhD Thesis about the Textile ceramics in Finland and Karelian Isthmus in 2001. After that, he has done several research about the Textile ceramic and the Early Metal Age ceramics in Finland, the Baltic countries and Russia.

In addition to these studies, he has made the surveys in Jordan and Greece with the purpose to find and locate new prehistorical sites. He has also been a writer of several local prehistoric publications and popular archaeologic publications. 

Photo: Helsingin Yliopisto


Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz defended her PhD in Roman law in march, 2014 (university of Alicante and Facolta di giurisprudenza Palermo) concerning the criminal liability for shipwrecking. She just finished her 2nd PhD in archaeology (June, 2018) concerning the epigraphy of merchandise at the Universities of Southampton and Lyon 2 la lumière, related to the Portus limen project (http://portuslimen.eu/). She has recently been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Helsinki Collegium for advanced studies to develop a project entitled “materialising and tracing roman commercial sea law (2nd cent BC-3rd cent AD)”. Her research interests lie on Roman law and especially on its commercial and maritime focus. Moreover, her work is also devoted to examining the ways in which the material of inscribed artefacts provide information regarding their use as objects of communication. She likes to connect the materiality of epigraphy of merchandise against the background of Roman law, by shifting the focus from traditional linguistic analysis to the means by which inscribed texts were created, shaped, and used as commercial tools in the different regions of the Mediterranean. 

Links: https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/emilia-mataix-ferr%C3%A1ndiz


Photo: Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz


Vesa is highly skilled, experienced and farseeing business professional. He is also a very competent manager with natural leadership. Besides, Vesa is always open to new business opportunities and co-operational prospects. He has ideas and views on the social responsibility that multinational companies should have towards society. This aspect takes him to be involved in maritime archaeology, he has been an active hobby diver for more than three decades. Vesa is one of the ground stones at the Finnish maritime archaeological society (MAS). His special interest area are diving, history and renovation.

Photo: Vuokko Mannonen


Veronica Walker Vadillo is a maritime archaeologist specialized in Southeast Asia working as a postdoc at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced studies. She recently obtained her doctorate from the University of Oxford, for which she focused on Angkor’s riverine cultural landscape. The thesis analyzed the different ways in which the people of Angkor adapted to their environment in terms of practical usage (i.e., landscapes of communication and transport) and in terms of mind-set (i.e., cosmology and ritual behaviour). For her current position she is analyzing data she obtained during her doctoral studies to determine the role of nomadic fishing communities –present in the Mekong River until the early 20th century– in state development during the Angkor era. Her main interests are maritime ecosystems and trade pulses, that is, the rhythm at which maritime trade happens, in the Southeast Asian branch of the Maritime Silk Road. She actively participates in academic forums like the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage (APConf) and the International Congress on Underwater Archaeology (IKUWA), and was invited as an expert to the first UNESCO meeting to nominate the Maritime Silk Road as World Heritage.

Photo: Veronica Walker Vadillo


Katerina is a maritime archaeologist and currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki carrying out the project ‘Re-imagining the use of traditional watercraft in the Aegean Sea for a sustainable environment and economy’ with funding awarded by the Kone Foundation (Koneen Säätiö) in 2020. She has a PhD in Archaeology (2020) from the Centre for Maritime Archaeology of the University of Southampton, UK. Before her PhD she completed a BA in Classical Archaeology at King’s College London (2012-2015) and an MA in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton (2015-2016). As an archaeologist she has worked and conducted research in several archaeological projects and museums of the Mediterranean region, the UK and the Baltic Sea. Her research interests range from subjects of terrestrial and maritime archaeology from the period of Classical Antiquity to issues of modern maritime history and ethnography. She is an advocate for sustainability and taking action to confront the climate emergency. With her research she would like to encourage further cooperation and dialogue between the humanities, science and the general public.


Links: https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/katerina-velentza



Photo: Margarita Velentza


Kalle Virtanen is the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee and a maritime archaeologist currently working at the University of Helsinki writing his dissertation. His dissertation focuses on a pile dwelling located in Lake Koorküla’s Valgjärv in southern Estonia. He has been involved in several projects dealing with Baltic shipwrecks and has also done research on medieval harbours in the Finnish Archipelago. Besides the University of Helsinki, he has studied maritime archaeology at the University of Copenhagen during the Academic Year 1995-1996.

Virtanen is an active member of the Finnish Maritime Archaeological Society since 1996 and served as it’s Chair between 2001-2018. He is also NAS senior Tutor in Finland since 2002, when Finnish Maritime Archaeological Society signed an agreement with the NAS. Virtanen started diving 1986 and did his research diver’s education (AESD) in 1996. He proceeded in doing a Commercial diver’s exam in 2007 and has an offshore Surface Supplied diver’s certification from Norway (Klasse I). He is also a certified CMAS Scuba Instructor.  He has been involved in teaching, implementing and developing European Scientific Diver training and regulations in Finland and internationally. Between 2008-2017 he worked as an instructor and coordinator for professional diver training in Luksia a municipal education and training consortium, responsible for training professional divers in Finland.

Photo: Sheila Weintraub

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