Journal of Maritime Archaeology

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 9–41 | Cite as

Maritime and Shipwreck Archaeology in the Western Indian Ocean and Southern Red Sea: An Overview of Past and Current Research

  • Paul J. LaneEmail author
Original Paper


This paper provides an overview of previous archaeological research on shipwrecks and the maritime archaeology of the Western Indian Ocean and southern Red Sea. It highlights the early pioneering research on the Santo António de Tanná, wreck off Mombasa Island, before discussing more recent discoveries, surveys and excavations. Attention is drawn to the important distinction between ‘shipwreck’ and ‘maritime’ archaeology, and the need to develop integrated programmes aimed at investigating the diversity of the maritime heritage of these two regions. Particular attention is also drawn to the increased activity of treasure hunters and other threats to the underwater heritage of these regions, the need to sustain ongoing training and capacity building in maritime archaeology and for strengthening existing legislation.


Maritime archaeology Indian Ocean Red Sea Shipwrecks Maritime landscapes 



I would like to thank the editor Athena Trakadas for her helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this paper, and Colin Breen for preparing the illustrations and his long-standing commitment to the promotion of maritime archaeology in eastern Africa and comments on earlier versions of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.Honorary Research Fellow, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental StudiesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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