The guys that dive to shipwrecks to find hidden treasures of the past
“The Avondster was a Dutch ship. After a long career of coastal voyages, it sank 1659 while at anchor in Galle harbour. She lies close to shore, in only five metres of protectively murky water, an ideal research object” says Robert Parthesius one of the researchers who spearheaded the underwater archaeology project here in Galle Harbour to find out more about the ships’ remains and also the organisation of the VOC trade. “The 2004 boxing Tsunami was a scary moment, the museum was flooded, our unit was completely destroyed and all the exhibitions were flood damaged”.
Underwater research unit
What started as a small project on the jetty to dive and dig up artefacts in the Galle harbour is now a full blown Maritime Archaeology Centre with an archaeological diving unit, conservation laboratory and a research library, that researches shipwrecks all along the Sri Lankan coast. “It’s a ground-breaking effort to detect what’s out there” says Maritime Archaeologist Rasika Muthucumarana.
Galle Heritage Centre
Don’t forget to visit the Galle Heritage Centre across the road, for those who want more in-depth information about Fort’s multi-layered architecture. They have some cool models of Fort on display.