Stefan Claesson

I served as director and president of IMH from 1995 to 2005. That experience helped me to hone my skills as an archaeologist, and by trial and error how to effectively manage research projects. Although the focus of my work has always been the study and conservation of New England’s maritime archaeological resources, my 10 years at IMH also took me to places far afield such as the Caribbean islands and North Africa. The experience of starting and operating a non-profit organization was challenging as well as daunting. It meant wearing many hats and learning new skills that included fundraising, managing people and projects, working with local, state and foreign governments, organizing public outreach programs such as youth archaeology camps, lecturing, and consulting on heritage and museum development projects. Through these experiences, I have come to recognize the importance of cultural heritage to community well-being, and the urgent need to develop policies that protect and conserve maritime heritage resources for the public. My career and professional interests lie in improving the quality of life for coastal communities through the conservation of maritime cultural heritage.

Areas of Expertise

  • Maritime archaeology including inter-tidal, urban waterfront, shipwreck, and submerged prehistoric archaeological survey and excavation
  • Cultural heritage and resource management, policy development, planning and re-development of historic waterfront properties
  • Marine historical ecology

Current Position

  • Research Scientist, Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory, University of New Hampshire

Current Projects

  • Atlas of Historical Fishing Grounds, Census of Marine Life (CoML), History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP), 2008-2010
  • Blue Hill Bay Submerged Prehistoric Landscape Survey, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, 2007-2009
  • Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Marine Historical Ecology, National Marine Sanctuary Program, 2006-2009


  • Ph.D., Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of New Hampshire, 2008, “Sustainable Development of Maritime Cultural Heritage in the Gulf of Maine”
  • M. A. Anthropology, Texas A&M University, 1998, “Annabella: A North American Coasting Vessel”
  • B. A. Psychology & Archaeological Studies, Boston University, 1992

Professional Activities

  • Advisor, Fund for the Preservation of Maine’s Maritime Heritage

IMH Projects

  • Diamond Island Archaeology Survey, Portland, Maine, 2003
  • Rainsford Island Archaeological Survey, Boston, Massachusetts, 2002
  • Inter-tidal Archaeological Resources Survey in Cape Porpoise, Maine, 2002
  • Inter-tidal Archaeological Resources Survey in Kennebunk, Maine, 2001
  • Inter-tidal Archaeological Resources Survey in Wells, Maine, 2000
  • Wood Island Light Station Cultural Resources Survey, Biddeford, Maine, 2000
  • Inter-tidal Archaeological Survey of Cape Neddick River, Maine, 1998
  • Terrestrial Archaeological Survey of the Lower Cape Neddick River, Maine, 1997
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines Shipwreck Project, 1997-2000
  • Annabella Shipwreck Excavation, Cape Neddick, Maine, 1995

Selected Publications

  • CLAESSON, S. H. (2009) An ecosystem-based framework for governance and management of maritime cultural heritage in USA, Marine Policy. 33, 698-706.
  • CLAESSON, S. H. (2007) Mapping Historic Fishing Grounds in the Gulf of Maine and Northwest Atlantic Ocean, Oceans Past: Management Insights from the History of Marine Animal Populations, Ed. by D. J. Starkey, P. Holm, and M. Barnard, Earthscan, London p. 91-108.
  • CLAESSON, S. H., ROBERTSON, R. A. & HALL-ARBER, M. (2005) Fishing Heritage Festivals, Tourism, and Community Development in the Gulf of Maine, Proceedings of the 2005 Northeastern Recreational Research Symposium, April 10-12, 2005, Bolton Landing, NY, Report No. GTR-NE-341, pp. 420-428.
  • CLAESSON, S. H. (1997) A Preliminary Report on the Excavation of a Nineteenth-Century Derelict Vessel in Cape Neddick, Maine: The Southern New Jersey Coasting Schooner Annabella. Northeast Historical Archaeology 26: 39–62.