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Home Environment Organisations Institute of Nautical Archaeology

Institute of Nautical Archaeology

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The mission of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology is:
"to fill in the gaps of history and provide answers to challenging historical questions through the study and examination of the vessels that have traveled the world's waterways for millennia, carrying people and cargo, and making possible the widespread exchange of ideas, innovation and invention."

INA has been part of the team led by the RPM Nautical Foundation that discovered the bow of the vessel VolageINA is the ONLY international organization of its kind that can work globally, to locate, document, excavate and preserve significant underwater and nautical archaeological sites. Continuing the work that our founders began over 50 years ago, INA researchers are bringing to light those remnants of our collective past that speak most powerfully to us, about who we are, what we have done, and what we are capable of and doing so while upholding the highest scientific, academic and ethical standards. We spend many hours studying our finds and conserving them in our labs. We work hard to place history in museums where it can be shared. We speak about exciting new findings through the media and at conferences and seminars, publish academic and popular books and articles, our newsletter, the INA Quarterly and our yearly review, the INA Annual and we are reaching ever more people online to ultimately deepen the understanding of human history worldwide.

Today, there is a greater need than ever before to support the work done by INA. An unparalleled assault on the world's submerged history is under way from more than simply the ravages of time or the continued theft of our heritage by treasure hunters and looters who trade in history for financial gain.

Improved technology has allowed us better access to see beneath the waves and it has become clear to all who care to look, that human activity is having a devastating impact on even the most remote and isolated of environments. Deep sea trawling and dredging has been destroying entire ecosystems and along with them the very shipwrecks that INA is dedicated to preserve. The damage done on all fronts is considerable and growing in scale. We are in danger of losing again what was already lost, only this time it will be permanent. There will be no knowledge gained from these endangered sites once the ocean's floor has been scraped clean.

Help INA venture forth to reach out and save history before it is lost forever, as we excavate significant wrecks that have the potential to rewrite history. Support us in this mission and join in the excitement of exploration and discovery. Learn more about how you can help or make a donation online or contact us directly by email or telephone through the INA office in Texas (979) 845 6694.


The Institute of Nautical Archaeology conducts archaeological research to increase knowledge of the evolution of civilization through the location and excavation of submerged and buried ships, submerged ruins, and their associated artifacts.



Bodrum LabOur mission is to fill in the gaps of history and provide answers to challenging historical questions through the study and examination of the vessels that have traveled the world's waterways for millennia, carrying people and cargo, and making possible the widespread exchange of ideas, innovation and invention.

In order to achieve our many goals, INA seeks sponsorships and works with partners worldwide to continue the search for the most archaeologically important nautical sites in the world. These sites are surveyed, excavated, studied and the findings preserved to the highest scientific standards and shared with the widest possible audience for the benefit of humanity.

The guiding principles of INA are based on scholarship and an equal regard for every aspect of a project, from excavation of the site and the conservation and preservation of artifacts, to the publication of research and the distribution of the knowledge gained.

INA also contributes to our global knowledge and the future of the discipline by providing training grounds for the next generation of nautical archaeologists through their participation in Institute projects. 


Bodrum CastleOverlooking the shores of the Aegean Sea and fabled Turquoise Coast, the modern Turkish city of Bodrum is the hub of INA's work in the Mediterranean. Favored by tourists who visit from all over the world, this region and surrounding waters were a crossroads of cultures even thousands of years ago. Then, seafarers navigated the rugged coastline carrying goods from throughout the ancient world.

In 1958, it was on this coast where Peter Throckmorton, a visiting adventurer and journalist, stopped and learned from Turkish sponge divers about a very old shipwreck. This wreck, said to be laden with copper ingots was lying beneath the sea off Cape Gelidonya. Two years later, George Bass and a team of young divers would excavate the Gelidonya wreck undertaking the world's first scientific underwater excavation. The project would inspire the birth of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and transformation of Bodrum Castle into the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. And it would ultimately lead to the creation of INA's Bodrum Research Center.

Bodrum - TurkeyToday, Bodrum is again a crossroads. Students and scholars from around the world come to work out of the Research Center, employing INA's fleet to survey and study the region's shipwrecks. Decades of surveys have uncovered wrecks and their cargoes dating back from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Empire.

The most significant of these discoveries have rewritten the history books, adding a staggering volume of data to the archaeological record of ancient and medieval seafaring. Annually, over a quarter of a million paying visitors tour the Museum of Underwater Archaeology where they learn about the important discoveries INA has made with its Turkish partners.

Kizilburun Excavation Team

Bayram Kosar, Heather Brown, Courtney Higgins, Debbie Carlson, Kris Trego, Murat Tilev

Piotr Bojakowski, Don Frey, Sinem Özongan, Cameron Gillespie, Giles Richardson, Fran White, Catherine Sincich, Mariangela Nicolardi

Zafer Gül, Feyyaz Subay, Jeroen Vermeersch, Josh Daniel, Alexis Catsambis, Kim Rash

Not pictured:
Boris Breivogel, Donny Hamilton, Faith Hentschel, Sheila Matthews, Asaf Oron, Ken Trethewey



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