Veronica Walker Vadillo (Archaeology area, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki)

Veronica Walker Vadillo is a maritime archaeologist specialized in Southeast Asia working as a postdoc at  the archaeology area in the Faculty of Arts, where she is the PI of the project Ports and Harbours of Southeast Asia supported by the University of Helsinki Three-Year Research Grant. She 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). Her earlier position as a Core Research Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies she analyzed data 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. She produced a series of maps of the Historical Ecology of the Mekong River basin with Marko Kallio, which are available in Open Source. 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. She was awarded the Early Career Scholar Award by the Institute of Southeast Asian Archaeology in 2020 for her article on Angkor’s fluvial landscape.

Emilia Mataix Ferrandiz (University of the Basque Country/University of Helsinki)

I defended my PhD in Roman law in march, 2014 (university of Alicante and Facolta di giurisprudenza Palermo) concerning the criminal liability for shipwrecking. I finished my 2nd PhD in archaeology in June 2018, concerning the epigraphy of merchandise at the Universities of Southampton and Lyon 2 la lumiere, related to the Portus limen project ( My research interest lies on Roman law and especially on its commercial and maritime focus. I was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Helsinki Collegium for advanced studies (2018-2020) to develop a project entitled materialising and tracing roman commercial sea law (2nd cent BC-3rd cent AD) I aim to understand legal procedures from an anthropological point of view and thinking what do the parties in trade aimed to achieve by using certain legal mechanisms or practices. I have been hired as collaborator for the Center of Excellence Eurostorie (University of Helsinki), concretely on the subproject 1 “Law and the uses of the past” ( until 2024. From 2021 to 2022, I worked as a research fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg Münster ‘Legal unity and Pluralism’ (, where I will develop my book project ‘Ports, Law and Material Culture in the Roman World. Negotiating Commercial Practice‘. I am currently a Maria Zambrano fellow in legal history at the Universidad del País Vasco (Spain), campus of Bizkaia.

Katerina Velentza (University of Hull)

Katerina Velentza  is a maritime archaeologist, currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environmental Humanities at the University of Hull. Previously she was a Kone Foundation Fellow at the University of Helsinki, in Finland, carrying out the project ‘Re-magining 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 completed a PhD in Archaeology at the Centre of Maritime Archaeology of the University of Southampton (2020), an MA in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton (2015-2016) and a BA in Classical Archaeology at King’s College London (2012-2015).

Elena Perez-Alvaro (Nelson Mandela University)

Dr. Elena Perez-Alvaro holds the position of Lecturer at the Master of Cultural and Natural Heritage Management at UNIR University, Spain, and serves as a Research Associate at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. She is recognized as an Expert Member of the ICOMOS International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage, an Expert Member of the ICOMOS International Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage, and contributes to the ICOMOS Sustainable Development Goals Working Group. Additionally, she chairs the Underwater Heritage Working Group of UK Blue Shield.
Her research endeavors encompass a holistic multidisciplinary approach, fostering connections between heritage, identity, and societal aspects, bridging the past and future. Dr. Perez-Alvaro has authored numerous articles in specialized journals and books across various fields. Notably, she has published the monograph “Underwater Cultural Heritage: Ethical Concepts and Practical Challenges” with Routledge. She has recently been awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to study the role of Indigenous women in responding to climate change in oceanic environments. Her research will be conducted at the University of Guam, the University of Hawaii, and the Universidad Pompeu Fabra.