VIETNAM Expedition 2018

This Hoi An/Cu Lao Cham 2018 Expedition – that took place in January/February 2018 – was aiming at better understanding the relation between past Maritime Silk Road commercial activities and the town of Hoi An (formerly known under different names in the past centuries).

To achieve new results from the previous years of research (2015 & then 2016 as the first official expedition of the newly created Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology – SCMA), methods such as ship-line calculation, local fishermen and shipbuilder interviews, site plan, photogrammetry, observation, interpretation, side scan sonar and SCUBA-diving were involved.

Hoi An – and its different locally established maritime trading sites – was a bustling maritime zone of the Maritime Silk Road, counting as a region, as one of the major Maritime Silk Road trading area. Artifacts and shards that have survived the Centuries are present everywhere from the nearby Cu Lao Cham (Islands) to the river estuary and the historic town itself, where temples harbor century old shards encrusted in their walls as decorative motifs.

Several partners took part in this fieldwork, along with 32 researchers and students from all over the world:

  • Vietnam Maritime Archaeology Project – VMAP (Vietnam/Australia)

  • Vietnam Institute of Archaeology (VIA/Vietnam)

  • Flinders University (Australia)

  • Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans (USA)

  • Teledyne Marine/Seabotix (USA)

  • The Explorers Club (Worldwide)

The work was established as a comparative study, not a systematic study like in the past expeditions. This allowed a large group like ours to work coherently and efficiently through different tasks each day, and often in different locations. Three groups were established, each one assigned to different tasks each day. Each group returning within the following days to perform the same work than other groups as a way to, in the end, compare the effects and results of our combined work.

Sites of research have included:

  • Hoi An Historical town

  • Hoi An Historical Museum collection

  • Hoi An River

  • Hoi An River estuary

  • Cu Lao Cham (Islands)

  • Than Ha Village

  • Kim Bong Shipyard Village