MaritimeLanka logo by Muthu.
  Divers at work in Galle Harbour: composite photo by Patrick Baker.

Maritime Lanka:
maritime archaeology & history of Sri Lanka

Avondster logoThe 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

    The Avondster
Last modified:
23 Oct 2012