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History and Archaeology

  Diving for shipwrecks and the equipment for finding them

Article discussing the search for shipwrecks and use of equipment.

  Why do we study shipwrecks?

Studying shipwrecks can help us understand the past, connect us to our cultural heritage, and teach us lessons on how the environment and human error can damage each other.

  Using New Technology to Find Shipwrecks

“The technological advances that have taken place over the last few years are fantastic. A human diver can only work down to about 30 metres, and the vast majority of shipwrecks are much deeper than that. Underwater robotics, sensors, robots and control systems are now making it possible to obtain completely new insights into what’s on the seabed,” he says [Øyvind Ødegård, marine archaeologist]

  This Ancient Greek Vessel is the World’s Oldest Intact Shipwreck

Off the Bulgarian coast, just over a mile beneath the surface of the Black Sea, archaeologists have discovered what they believe is the world’s oldest intact shipwreck.

  The Black Sea maritime archaeology project

Blog post on the current projects undertaken by MAP and the technologies used to locate shipwrecks.

  Maritime archaeological analysis of two historic shipwrecks located during the MH370 aircraft search

The use of aerial survey and sonar explained in detail.

  Sonar Anomaly Leads to Discovery of 500-Year-Old Shipwreck in North Sea

The searchers were using ship-borne sonar to find steel containers that fell from the ship MSC Zoe during a storm in January, when they spotted something on the seafloor north of the Dutch island of Terschelling.

  350 years of marine corrosion in Western Australia

A discussion paper on the impact of corrosion on shipwrecks.

  Identification of Corrosion Products on Non-Ferrous Metal Artefacts Recovered from Shipwrecks

Identification of corrosion products on non-ferrous metal artefacts recovered from historic shipwrecks off the coast of Western Australia has provided conservators with useful information regarding the nature of the degradation processes on copper, brass, bronze, silver, lead and pewter artefacts.

  Corrosion on shipwrecks

Ian MacLeod studies the rates of corrosion of metals and wood exposed to seawater for long periods of time. 

  Centuries of Preserved Shipwrecks Found in the Black Sea

[A team of] sailors and scientists surveying a sector of the Black Sea for clues about how prehistoric humans responded to rising sea levels have found something much different—41 well-preserved shipwrecks spanning over a thousand years of history, from the ninth century to the 19th century.

  In-situ preservation of shipwrecks

Conservation scientists and conservators at the Western Australian Museum conduct research to develop new and improved techniques for ensuring the long-term preservation of our underwater cultural heritage sites. This article focuses on the unique conservation methods applied to the James Matthews shipwreck site.

  Underwater Cultural Heritage

UNESCO site with links to preservation, conserving and protecting historic shipwrecks.

  Archaeological materials

Archaeological materials in Australia are generally uncovered from early colonial occupation sites, marine environments, burial sites or ruins. They can be made from a wide range of inorganic and organic materials including metals, stone, ceramics, bone and skin, wood and plant fibres.


The Maritime Archaeology shipwreck artefact database is a searchable index for artefacts that have been recorded by the Maritime Archaeology department. 


The Batavia was the impressive new flagship of the Dutch East India Company, and it was during its maiden voyage to its namesake in Java that it struck a reef in the Abrolhos Islands, some 80 kilometres off the Western Australian coast. 

  Batavia's History

The Batavia left Texel, Holland on her maiden voyage to the exotic East Indies as the flagship of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC) fleet of 1629. She was commanded by one of the VOC's most experienced merchants, Francisco Pelsaert, but not even he could have foreseen what was in store for the Batavia and her crew.

  Barbarism and brutality: surviving the Batavia shipwreck

Almost 400 years ago, in the hours before dawn on 4 June 1629, a flagship of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was wrecked upon Morning Reef near Beacon Island, some 60 kilometres off the Western Australian coast.

  National Heritage Places - Batavia Shipwreck Site and Survivor Camps Area 1629 - Houtman Abrolhos

The shipwreck and bloody aftermath of the Dutch merchant vessel Batavia is a fascinating tale of maritime treachery, murder and heroism, unparalleled in Australian maritime history.

  Australia's bloodiest shipwreck

Madness, mutiny and murder. The story of the Batavia is a wild ride.

  Batavia Shipwreck

With tales of murderous mutiny, the Batavia Shipwreck off the coast of Geraldton is one of Western Australia's best known historic dive sites.

  Archaeologists Discover New Mass Grave From Notorious Shipwreck

Archaeologists have discovered a new communal grave tied to an infamous and bloody 1629 mutiny of Murder Island.

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Compiled by Luciana Cavallaro March 2020