maritime archaeology & history of Sri Lanka
East Indiaman Avondster in Galle harbour was excavated
in 2001-2004, the first major project of the Maritime Archaeology Unit of
Sri Lanka*. The Avondster was originally an English ship, captured
and modified by the Dutch, relegated after a long career to shorthaul
coastal voyages, and wrecked in 1659 while at anchor in Galle harbour.
Read the story, see the site,
learn about the excavation, and
see what has been found in different parts
of the ship.
The section on Galle contains
pages on VOC shipping, use
of the harbour, the trilingual inscription
left by Chinese admiral Zheng He, as well as details of other archaeological
sites. Several Dutch East Indiamen were wrecked in Galle harbour, or just
outside: they include the Hercules
and the Dolfijn.
* The Maritime Archaeology
Unit and conservation laboratory were formed under the Mutual Heritage
Centre, managed by the Central Cultural Fund in cooperation with the Amsterdam
Historical Museum, the University of Amsterdam, & the Western Australian
Museum (departments of Maritime Archaeology & Materials Conservation),
and sponsored by the Netherlands Cultural Fund.
In Nov 2003 it was decided that
the MAU would be the base on which to establish a UNESCO regional training
field school in underwater archaeological site conservation and management.
Following the Avondster excavation, MAU staff had prepared a programme for
survey and management of other maritime heritage sites in the Galle area,
which they were looking forward to starting in January 2005. Plans had to
be altered after significant damage in the tsunami of December 2004. The
new website of the MAU is