Between 1995 and 2014, Arqueonautas Worldwide (AWW) developed into one of the world’s leading maritime archaeological companies for shallow water (less than 60m below sea level) operations, with archaeological missions in four different continents.
AWW’s aim was to protect world maritime heritage in accordance with current professional standards of archaeological practice. These activities included non-intrusive survey operations, reconnaissance surveys, recommendations and mitigation measures’ reports and archaeological excavations that in some cases involved archaeology rescue procedures and controlled excavations of known historical shipwrecks. Additionally, AWW carried out conservation work, the scientific documentation of related cultural material and cargo, and the respective publications. An experienced team of historians, marine archaeologists, research divers and conservation experts operated out of the existing headquarters in Portugal, on a large number of intervention projects around the globe.
During this period, AWW located over 150 historical shipwrecks in Africa and Asia, under governmental licenses issued by the Republics of Cape Verde, Mozambique, Vietnam and Indonesia. Over 110,000 culturally significant artefacts have been recovered, recorded and published from a total number of 15 excavated shipwrecks, most of them represented in the national museums of the nations in which territorial waters these shipwrecks were found.
With the creation of the Arqueonautas Foundation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in July 2014, AWW has ceased all archaeological activity and will now focus on the management of the Arqueonautas brand. Working in close cooperation with our licensing partners with the clear task of sustaining and increasing the growth of the Arqueonautas brand, AWW will generate more revenue that will revert to the Arqueonautas Foundation through financial and manpower support for its maritime archaeological missions and related activities, and thus ensuring that AWW will continue to actively contribute towards the protection of world maritime heritage.
The Arqueonautas Foundation, a non-profit public benefit organisation dedicated to the study and protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, is the institutional repository for all the scientific data and information generated during the 19 years of uninterrupted AWW archaeological missions. The Foundation will be responsible for making that wealth of knowledge accessible to the academic and scientific communities, while continuing the efforts initiated by AWW to raise awareness among the general public about the dangers and threats facing Underwater Cultural Heritage in the 21st century.
In this section of the site, the legacy of AWW’s archaeological work is summarised and illustrated as we cover the archaeological expeditions and conservation work carried out in Cape Verde, Mozambique, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and Germany. A final page in this section is dedicated to the exhibitions that directly resulted from the archaeological work carried out by AWW over almost two decades.
In hindsight, AWW can only look back at this legacy in wonder and be eternally grateful to all the archaeologists, historians, conservators, divers, crew members, IT personnel, administrative staff and cooperating bodies, who in four different continents contributed with their efforts, dedication and sacrifice to make it all possible. AWW believes that the Arqueonautas Foundation will be able to further enhance what has already been achieved, taking its mission of protecting world maritime heritage, to another level.