US Funds Preservation Of South Asia’s Oldest Shipwreck
COLOMBO, (IANS) – The US will fund the preservation of the Godawaya, the oldest known shipwreck in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific region.
The US embassy here announced a $82,192 grant to document and conserve the Godawaya shipwreck located near the island nation’s southernmost Hambantota Port.
Discovered by two Sri Lankan divers, the artefacts of the Godawaya include a mound of corroded metal bars and a scattering of other ancient cargo, including glass, ingots, and pottery.
The US Embassy in Colombo said: “The documentation and conservation funded through the grant will be undertaken by the Central Cultural Fund’s Maritime Archaeology Unit. Documentation of the site and engagement with US experts on Indo-Pacific trade routes and shipwrecks will increase global understanding of trade in the Indo-Pacific and especially Sri Lanka’s role in this rich history.”
The recording of the internationally recognized site and preservation of objects already exposed on the seabed floor will be shared with Sri Lankan scholars as well as secondary and university-aged students by the Maritime Archaeology Unit’s Galle and Colombo lab.
Once the project is completed, the artifacts will also be on display to the public in the Maritime Archeological Museum, the Embassy statement added.
Since 2001, the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation has funded 15 projects in Sri Lanka, totaling assistance of $1,387,294.
These include documentation of the Western monasteries at the World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura; conservation of the Rajagala Buddhist forest monastery; preservation of Buddhist, Hindu, and other collections in the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum; restoration of the Batticaloa Dutch Fort; preservation of the ritual music and dance forms of the Adivasi, Tamil, and Buddhist communities; and the conservation of a 17th century Kandyan Kings’ Palace in Kandy.