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Grant number like: RZ-51388-11

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Institute of Nautical Archaeology (College Station, TX 77841-5137)
Deborah N. Carlson (Project Director: November 2010 to June 2015)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$215,000 (approved)
$215,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2011 – 9/30/2014

Archaeological Excavation of an Ancient Shipwreck at Godavaya, Sri Lanka

The excavation and analysis of a second-century B.C. ship off the coast of Sri Lanka to better understand the history of maritime trade in the ancient world. (36 months)

The recent discovery of an ancient shipwreck off the southern coast of Sri Lanka, five miles from the site of Godavaya, may revolutionize our knowledge about the history of maritime trade in South Asia. In fall 2008, divers recovered examples of locally-produced ceramics, as well as cobalt glass ingots probably of Egyptian or Mesopotamian origin. These artifacts suggest that the Godavaya shipwreck may date as early as the 3rd or 2nd century B.C., making it the oldest ever found in the Indian Ocean. This proposal seeks funding to enable an international team of researchers to pursue the excavation of this important wreck over three separate winter campaigns. The potential impact of this project is tremendous, not only in terms of enhancing scholarly understanding of ancient commercial networks in the Indian Ocean, but also as a means of showcasing how archaeological excavation can foster awareness of cultural heritage in a region devastated by civil war and natural disaster.