One of the most important discoveries in marine archaeological history occurred in 1998, just off Indonesia’s Belitung Island in the western Java Sea: A 1,200-year-old Arabian dhow with an astounding cargo of gold, silver, ceramic artifacts, coins, and tangible personal effects. The ship’s hold contained some 57,000 pieces in total and yet no human remains. The Lost Dhow: A Discovery from the Maritime Silk Route, now on show at the newly opened Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, explores the movement of cross-cultural exchange, trade, and technology between the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258 CE) and Tang dynasty China (618-907 CE) through the prism of an ancient shipwreck.In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE) speaks to Mr. John Vollmer, Guest Curator for the Aga Khan Museum’s presentation of this exhibition, about the importance of the objects in this exhibition and what the exhibition means to the recently opened museum.
A chance opportunity took Dr. Bruno Werz to South Africa as the country’s first marine archeologist in 1988. For over twenty years now, Dr. Werz has undertaken numerous projects of immense scope, including the excavation of sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest shipwreck. He is also responsible for the discovery of the oldest human artifacts ever found beneath the ocean’s surface. In this exclusive interview with James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia, Dr. Werz discusses his passion for marine archaeology and the activities of the African Institute for Marine and Underwater Research, Exploration and Education (AIMURE).
The Zea Harbour Project (ZHP) is a combined land and underwater archaeological investigation of the ancient harbours of Zea and Mounichia in the Piraeus (Athens’ harbour city) in Greece. Launched in 2002 under the auspices of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, the 26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (until 2009) and the Danish Institute at Athens, ZHP’s mission is to survey, excavate, and publish the archaeological remains of the ancient naval bases of the Piraeus. The Carlsberg Foundation has funded the project since 2004. In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Dr. Bjørn Lovén, Associate Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southern Denmark, and director of the ZHP.