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The Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA)

The Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) searches, identifies, excavates, conserves and analyses archaeologically important underwater sites. George Fletcher Bass (who has been working in Turkish waters since 1960) Ann Bass, and Steven Gadon established the Institute in Pennsylvania in 1972. Then in 1976 the INA moved its headquarters to Texas A&M University and have made the University a world centre for the conservation of underwater archaeology. The INA’s Bodrum Turkey Headquarters were officially opened in 1995 with a new library and readings rooms, a conservation laboratory, and a computer centre opened in 2000. The INA shares its findings with the public through the INA Quarterly, The Nautical Archaeology Series (Texas A&M Press), Studies in Nautical Archaeology (Texas A&M Press in the U.S. and Chatham Publishing in the U.K.), and the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. The Institute also provides professional training and education to archaeology students from Albania, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Greece, Jamaica, Japan, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, and other countries.

INA History & Projects

The INA’s global activities represent major milestones in underwater archaeological history.

The Institute conducted the most important excavation in historical archaeology at Port Royal, Jamaica from 1981 to 1990. Port Royal, one of the largest and most economically important towns in the English colonies during the late 17th century, was hit by an earthquake, which submerged houses, shops, warehouses, churches, and other buildings in 1692. It is estimated that 2000 people were killed immediately. In contrast to many archaeological sites, large amounts of perishable, organic artifacts were recovered, preserved in the oxygen-depleted underwater environment according to Port Royal Project’s Web site.

The first scientific excavation of an American Revolutionary War privateer, Defense, in Maine, USA was orchestrated by the INA. It began in 1975 and ended in 1981. Many artifacts were left behind by the fleeing crew, food was found in storage, and personal items were found in the amidships, where the crew lived.

The INA’s primary activities have mainly been focused in Turkey ever since a dozen wrecks were located at Ser??e Limani, Selimiye, and Seytan Deresi in 1973.


Work on an eleventh century Hellenistic ship, the "Glass Wreck", at Ser??e Limani, Turkey lasted 2 years from 1977 to 1979. The ship was carrying tons of glass cullet, and represents the largest collection of medieval Islamic glass in the world. A permanent exhibit opened in Bodrum Museum in Turkey in 1990.


The Institute conducted an underwater wreck survey in Turkish waters in 1980. This lead to the discovery of a fourteenth century Bronze Age wreck with 18,000 artifacts from nearly a dozen different cultures at Uluburun, Turkey in 1982. Fieldwork finally ended in 1994. INA divers excavated the wreck using saturation diving techniques, and set a record with compressed air usage with 22,500 dives to between 145 and 200 feet.

In 1983, excavations started of sixteenth century Ottoman wreck at Yassiada, Turkey.


Mr. Cemal Pulak and Mr. Tufan Turanli found a medieval millstone, a large Corinthian column, a Byzantine cargo of marble architectural elements, and a Byzantine amphora in a wreck in 1993.

A mid-fifth century B.C. wreck was located during an underwater survey in Turkey in 1996. According to Dr. Frederick M. Hocker’s report, the wreck first appeared as a low mound of amphora approximately 20 meters long and 8 meters wide in the sloping, sandy bottom at the base of the K??????ven Burnu cliff. The mound is oriented almost directly north south, with the southern (upper end) lying at a depth of 26 meters and the northern (lower) end at 36 meters. In addition to the mound, a number of whole and fragmentary amphora are scattered about the bottom either side of the mound and in the rocks of the cliff above the mound.

1998 marked the final season of excavation of the Byzantine wreck at Selimiye.

The Institute also cooperated with Nergis G??nsenin in her excavation of a Byzantine shipwreck next to Marmara Island, Turkey in 2000.

Conservation of Uluburun artifacts continued in 2001.

The INA’s physical resources include a two-person sea mobile submersible named Carolyn, and a 45-foot catamaran, Millawanda, which was built to assist in the location of hundreds of others wrecks.

Current & Future Projects

This year, the INA is scheduled to continue its activities in California, Texas, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Portugal, US Virgin Islands, Turkey and Israel.

Projects underway include:

  • Plans to work on a sixth-century B.C. shipwreck at Pabu?? Burnu in Turkey.
  • Another underwater survey for ancient shipwrecks.
  • Continued work on The Shipwrecks of Anatolia project, which started in July 2000.
  • Continued work on the Uluburun shipwreck.
  • Study on The Kadirga, which is the only authentic historic galley, which is being displayed in the Naval Museum in Istanbul.
  • Continued work on the Bozburun Byzantine shipwreck.