2012-2014 plans

IMH is initiating two big reconnaissance projects for the next two years.  Dates are tentative.

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, October 2012 to March 2013.

We will seek collaboration with local governments, the National Park Service, LAMP (the archaeological division of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum), and universities.

The plan is to use sidescan sonar and magnetometer to scan selected areas along the northern coast of Puerto Rico, then the Virgin Islands, then the southern coast of Puerto Rico.  Most scanning would be done by a core crew, with volunteers coming down for a week or two to map the targets found.  One specific target is a War of 1812 schooner that foundered at St. Croix in 1928 at the age of 116 years or more.

The route from Florida to Puerto Rico goes right through the Bahamas.  We also hope to spend at least a month there to recon areas or sites selected by the Bahamian government.

Angkor, Cambodia, October 2013 to March 2014.

We will seek collaboration with 

            the Cambodian government agency APSARA,

            the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a branch of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),

            the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO),

            the École française d’Extrême-Orient,

            and others to be identified.

Angkor has two large artificial lakes (“barays”) and a smaller baray named Srah Srang..  The Eastern Baray is filled in, cultivated, populated, and crossed by roads.  The Western Baray and Srah Srang are wet.  Angkor Wat, the primary temple, has a large moat covering approximately 0.9 square miles.  Angkor Thom, the ancient palace immediately north of Angkor Wat, has an even larger moat, but half of it has filled in.  Other temples are nearby.  Some of them have their own barays and moats.  These sites are sacred to both the Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Tonle Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia, is located south of Angkor.  It covers approximately 1,040 square miles in the dry season, or 6,200 square miles in the rainy season (June through September).

As best we know, none of these waters has ever been archaeologically surveyed.

Fieldwork on the Caribbean project will be open to everyone on our usual no-take-no-talk basis — we do not disturb sites or tell anyone except the appropriate government officials where we went or what we found.  The Angkor project will be limited to those who have archaeological and black-water diving experience.

Both projects will require serious outside funding.  Setting up the projects will take much preparatory work for historical research, funding, logistics, permits, visas, and schedules.  If you would like to join in those preliminary efforts or in the fieldwork please contact david.howe@maritimehistory.org.