logoThe project was initiated with the prime objective of training a core group of maritime archaeologist by Jeremy Green and other maritime archaeologists from Australia with the Sri Lankan counterpart team of amateur divers from SLSAC(Sri Lanka Sub-Aqua Club) led by late Gihan Jayatilake and a team of naval divers coordinated by Green and Devendra (Meritime Heritage Trust). Training was also carried-out in the conservation of water-logged objects, scientific recording, underwater photography and the setting up of a conservation laboratory. The whole seabed of the Galle bay was surveyed using side scan sonar and a magnetometer. 26 archaeologically important sites were located, including five wooden shipwrecks and seven iron shipwrecks. Full Story ..

logoFrom 2001 the Underwater Archaeological activities became more institutionalized with the forming of a Maritime Archaeological Unit (MAU) and conservation laboratory under the Central Cultural Fund in cooperation with the Amsterdam Historical Museum, the University of Amsterdam, the Western Australian Museum, and sponsored by the Netherlands Cultural Fund. The main objective was to extend the capacity in Sri Lanka for maritime heritage management and to build a collection for a new national maritime museum. These goals were met by an excavation project of the European East-Indiaman Avondster in the Bay of Galle.
The Avondster was originally a British ship, captured and modified by the Dutch. After a long life span of long distance trans-oceanic voyages it was assigned to short-haul coastal runs. The vessel was 30 meters long and constructed with two decks. The Avondster was wrecked on 2nd July 1659 while anchored in the Galle harbour. Full story



UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Field School for

Maritime Archaeology [2006]

logoIn 2006 the initial training of the Maritime Archaeology field school program was conducted by the Central Cultural Fund (CCF), the Post Graduate Institute Archaeology (PGIAR), and the Department of Archaeology supported by UNESCO (Asia-Pacific Region). This training was aimed at training the future trainers of the field school and also to serve as an initial exploratory course, with 12 local trainees and one Chinese. Two foreign trainers from Australia participated alongside reputed national trainers. A systematic training course was conducted and the team was exposed to subjects outside their purely practical experience. Full story



Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM) Field

School on Cultural Impact Assessment [2007]

logoUNESCO and ICCROM organized a “Cultural Impact Assessment and Maritime Archaeology” Field School in Galle, Sri Lanka from 1-9 April 2007, under the Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM). The training was implemented in partnership with the Post-Graduate Institute of Archaeology of the University of Kelaniya, the Central Cultural Fund and the Flinders University of Australia. Eighteen participants from eight countries (Australia, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Japan, Philippine, Pakistan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka) were offered the opportunity to study heritage conservation under the guidance of leading experts in this field. The curriculum of the nine-day training program consisted of lectures on topics ranging from conservation legislation to underwater archaeology, group work, field trips to heritage sites in Galle as well as diving sessions at several underwater heritage sites in the bay of Galle. Full story


AIA – Galle Harbour [November 2007]

logoWith the new development plan of the Galle harbour, an Archaeological Impact Assessment needed to be carried out. The Department of Archaeology conduct this AIA with special help from the Western Australian Maritime Museum. The task was carried out from the MAU and the bay of Galle was surveyed by using side scan sonar and a proton magneto meter. The archaeological sites found during the Galle harbour project were re-surveyed and recorded. There were some considerable errors of the GPS locations gathered using the technology available during the Galle harbour project (1992-98). The positions were taken again using a deferential GPS and put in to a new survey map. The VOC Hercules (1661) site will be directly affected by the new development plan, due to the fact that the site was carefully surveyed and mapped again. 4 new cannons were found from this survey in addition to the 31 cannons found from this site during the 1993 survey. Full story


UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Field School for

Maritime Archaeology [2008]

logoThe second part of the regional field school, the Advance Training the Trainers course was conducted successfully from March 4th to April 8th 2008. The wreck of Earl of Shaftsbury lying at a depth of 14 metres and an unknown steam wreck at depth of 09 meters at Akurala off Hikkaduwa were subjected to detailed investigation by the 11 trainees of this workshop. The trainees were drawn from the Maritime Archaeology Unit, the Department Archaeology, Department of National Museums and the Sri Lanka Navy. Full story




Underwater Archaeology Training Program [2009]

logoThe first underwater archaeology training program conducted by the MAU to give a theoretical and practical knowledge for future archaeologists was held in July 2009. Twenty archaeology special degree students from 04 universities participated for this 10-day onsite training program. Five under graduates from each university (university of Kelaniya, Peradeniya, Sri Jayawardhanapura and Ruhuna) were accommodated in side the Galle fort during the training program. This was the first time these students were exposed to this new field. The program was designed to give an overall knowledge about underwater archaeology, particularly about the fieldwork. Full story