Dr Godwin Samarawickrama

Wreck diving in Sri Lanka

Great Basses reef


By Sri Lanka Navy Wreck Divers


During the recent past number of Maritime Archaeology Projects were launched by Archaeology Department and Central Cultural Fund (CCF) of Sri Lanka. Most of these projects were funded by UNESCO.

Even though, Archaeology Department of Sri Lanka has few divers (some are qualified others not) at Maritime Archaeology Unit, Galle, Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has provided support in terms of divers, boats, diving equipments in big way in all successful underwater archaeology projects.

The last being the Galle Harbour project 1992, which was launched to recover what ever possible artifacts from 25 historical (more than 100 years old) Maritime Archaeological sites within the Galle Harbour, prior to commencement of Galle Harbour Expansion Project dredging work.

A separate Maritime Archaeology Museum was established in Galle Fort in 1993 (later damaged during Tsunami disaster in 2004) and whatever possible artifacts from wrecks in Galle Harbour were recovered.

However delay in commencement of proposed Galle Harbour expansion project has reduced the importance of this Maritime Archaeology in Galle. Excavation of VOC ship ‘Avondster’ (which was sunk in 1659) was the highlights of this Galle Harbour project.


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