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Slide Show

The Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) has expanded the scope of its research and preservation work to include Egypt and the Middle East. The Institute, founded by Dr. George F. Bass in 1973, has been a driving force in the study of human maritime enterprise worldwide. INA is a non-profit, scientific and educational organization based at and affiliated with Texas A&M University.

The Institute has sponsored more than 50 archaeological projects spanning a 3,600-year time frame in 20 nations on five continents. These projects include shipwrecks, harborworks, and submerged cities. The work of INA extends beyond the recovery of ships and their cargoes into the equally important artifact and ship conservation and reconstruction, publication, display, and education.

By taking the exploration of Egypt's nautical heritage underwater, we have the opportunity to scientifically record and preserve it. Although some of the richest trade routes and fiercest battles for naval superiority are a part of Egypt's nautical heritage, we know little about the ships that such ventures relied on. As excavations by INA around the world have shown, much that happened aboard ships is unrecorded by cultural and economic histories. Ship excavations also provide a unique view of ancient life unobtainable from land excavations.

INA's decades of experience in Turkey provide a model for cooperation between an American research institute and another country. INA's dedication to and insistence upon rigorous archaeological techniques, education of local staff and archaeologists, cooperation with local governments and needs, and curation, exhibition, and publication of finds in the home country have produced one of the finest nautical archaeology institutes and museums in the world.

The interest and practical support offered to us by Egyptian government officials, scholars, and interested persons confirm our belief that INA's successful record in Turkey can be duplicated in the Arab world. Egyptian conservators and archaeologists are already benefiting from INA outreach programs, and we have identified four shipwreck sites in the Red Sea. One of these, the Sadana Island shipwreck, has surprised scholars with evidence for luxury trade in porcelain, coffee and spices during the Ottoman period in the Red Sea.

Our first shipwreck survey to locate and document underwater antiquities so they may be monitored and protected took place in 1994, and INA-Egypt conducted the Egypt's only Mediterranean shipwreck survey in 1996. We are dedicated to discovering and excavating ships from important periods of Egypt's maritime past and preserving their contents for display in Egyptian museums at the Alexandria Laboratory for the Conservation of Submerged Antiquities, a joint project of INA-Egypt and the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Our work encompasses all accessible areas of Egypt's coastline and ships from all eras.

We work by forging partnerships with Egyptians, international corporations active in Egypt, and private donors and volunteers intent on the exploration of Egypt's rich and varied nautical heritage. INA-Egypt is directed by Douglas Haldane. Its archaeological director is Cheryl Haldane Ward, and Howard Wellman directs conservation. Emad Khalil and Adel Farouk are permanent staff at our Alexandria headquarters.

Corporate sponsorship has been generously provided by The Amoco Foundation, The John and Donnie Brock Foundation, The Bechtel Foundation, The Chase Manhattan Foundation, CitiCorp Foundation, and USAID's Egyptian Antiquities Project. Additional support from the Alexandria Business Association, The Alexanian Foundation, The Arab Contractors, AT&T, the American University in Cairo, British Gas, Citibank-Egypt, Commercial International Bank, DHL, IBM, Kodak-Egypt, Orascom - Onsi Sawiris & Co., Pepsicola International, Pfizer, Scubapro Benelux, Johnson & Johnson, Subex, the University of Alexandria, Uwatech/Dynatron and Xerox has allowed us to continue our search for Egypt's rich maritime legacy.

To visit the website for INA-Egypt, click here.

We especially thank Chris Kostman and Archaeoscience International for hosting this World Wide Web page and aiding its construction.