In collaboration with the National Museum, IEASM/FEFNA conducts archaeological missions in the Philippines. The main focus of this work is the research, discovery and study of the wrecks of ships sunk on the reefs off the archipelago.
Initiated by textual and/or oral testimonies as well as archaeological discoveries from previous years, underwater surveys are systematically continued using geophysical detection devices in order to deepen research leads and verify working hypotheses. Because the discovery of wrecks is of "archaeological, historical or artistic" interest - as identified by French legislation - the IEASM/FEFNA and the National Museum of the Philippines have defined a research project to study the history of the archipelago through trade, from the 8th-9th century to the 18th century. The scientific approach takes into account the study of junks found during systematic searches for wrecks of European origin or following indications provided by fishermen who have brought archaeological material ashore. Mapped, archaeologically assessed and sometimes excavated, the wrecks are named after the reef near the place of their discovery. The cargoes of these merchant ships offer a broad view of Asian production and make it possible to understand and retrace the different stages of trade between the Middle Kingdom and the countries of South-East Asia - the "Nanhai trade" -, the Indian Ocean and the Middle East over more than six centuries.
Until recently, only the final, European phase of trade with the Far East was known, which began with the arrival of the Portuguese in Asia in the 16th century. However, the excavations reveal the forms and intensity of exchanges between China and the riparian countries in the earlier periods, from the 11th to the 15th century. In this way, the cross-fertilisation of the objects found contributes to the historical interpretation of the wreck as a site; it provides information on the activities, behaviour and needs of a human group, and even on the cultural and commercial relations that this group may have had with other groups.
1985: The search for and excavation of the junk Royal Captain Shoal, west coast of Palawan Island, the Philippines. continued
1990 : Recherche et fouille de la jonque Investigator, XIIIe siècle, sud-ouest de l’île de Palawan, Philippines. continued
1991: Research and excavation of the Breaker junk, 11th century, west coast of Palawan Island, the Philippines. continued
1995-1996: Discovery and excavation of the San Isidro junk, circa 1510, near Luzon Island, the Philippines. continued
1997: Discovery and excavation of the junk Lena, circa 1490, off Busuanga Island, the Philippines. continued
1999: Discovery and excavation of the junk Española, off the island of Palawan, the Philippines. continued
2001 : Fouille de sauvetage de la jonque Santa Cruz, au large de l’île de Luçon, Philippines. continued
1987-1990: Location and excavation of the San Jose, a 17th century Spanish vessel, off Lubang Island, the Philippines. continued
1988: Survey and assessment of the remains of the Nuestra Señora de la Vida, a 17th-century Spanish vessel, the Philippines.
Mission Report: National Museum of the Philippines. continued
1990-1994: Location and excavation of the San Diego, a Spanish galleon sunk on 14 December 1600 off Fortune Island, the Philippines. continued
1986-1988: Location and excavation of the Griffin, a British India Company vessel in southern Mindanao Island (18th century), the Philippines. continued
1985-1995-1999: Excavation of the Royal Captain, an English East India Company vessel sunk on 17 December 1773 off Palawan, the Philippines, at a depth of 350 to 850 metres. continued
1988-1989: Sighting of the São Bartolomeu, a Portuguese vessel sunk in 1627 off the French coast. continued
The fleet that carried Bonaparte and his scientists to Egypt was destroyed by Nelson during the famous Battle of Aboukir in the bay north-east of Alexandria on 1 August 1798. continued
2002: Discovery and excavation of the Adelaide, a vessel from the 1714 "trade", off the coast of Cuba. continued
Inventory of underwater heritage in collaboration with Cuban Heritage.
Mission reports, Havana. continued