logoThe Avondster was originally a British ship, captured and modified by the Dutch. The vessel was 30 meters long and constructed with two decks. It was wrecked on 2nd July 1659 while anchored in the Galle harbour. After the ship was discovered in 1993 the site was monitored; it became clear that the wreck was increasingly exposed through changes in the dynamics of the seabed, and it was considered important to implement a rescue archaeology project on the site to safeguard this important collection. From 2001 till the end of 2004 important sections of the ship have been excavated and conserved in-situ. Full story

 

Site A

logoSite A is a large iron wreck situated in the North-Central part of the Galle harbour. It was discovered during the 1992-1993 season in the course of the Galle harbour project. Later it was identified by Lieut. Cdr. S. Devendra probably as the "Phatti Allum", which struck on rocks west of Gibbet Island and was beached in the Bay between 1870 and 1873. The major attraction of this site is the large accretion of artefacts that is incompatible with the history of the shipwreck. These artefacts range from 13th century Chinese bowls to modern times. Full story

 

 

Site E

logoThe Site was found in 1992 during the Galle harbour project. It was known as the ‘pipe wreck’ among the local divers due to the large number of clay pipes found from the site. It is located very close to the Northern edge of the Galle harbour and about 100 meters away from the ‘Avondster’ wreck. This unidentified wooden wreck lies on a sandy bottom in a very shallow area covered with fine silt. Full Story

logoWhen the crew of the Angelier had weighed anchor and were busy pulling up the sails, quite suddenly a strong cross-wind struck the ship. They managed to fasten the sails again and to throw the anchor. On the Hercules however, half a pistol shot from us, things went wrong. I saw that the anchor rope was broken. This seemed strange to me, since this rope wasn’t bad and no other ship in the bay at that moment had the same problem. Still they tried to throw the second anchor, but in this case the end of the rope wasn’t secured to the mast, so they lost the second anchor too. Without anchors the ship was now a playing ball of the elements. The bow of the ship turned in the direction of the land and was breaking to pieces on the cliffs a few moments later. Full story

logoIn the year 1903, on her voyage to Madras from Novorossiysk, the SS Conch (one of the world's first oil transporting ships) sank near Akurala, a village on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka, spilling oil and becoming the island's first oil tanker wreck. It is now of major diving interest, which attracts hundreds of tourists each year. The wreck lies on her Port side at a depth of 21 meters providing a magnificent view with the half-buried propeller and the large boilers in the engine room. Full story

 

 

logoOn 8th May 1893, on her way to Rangoon from Bombay via Colombo the sea became very rough due to rain and storm. Around 3’O clock the vessel was running to the East by treacherous current which was taking her out of her course. Suddenly a cry of “Land ahead” came from the man on the look-out …The body of the captain of the ill-fated ship was found washed ashore at Godagama about a mile southwards from the wreck. The chief officer and carpenter identified the body. Full story

 

Victory

logoThe site has been badly destroyed and there is no physical evidence leading to the ships origin. According to what we can see on the site it is a steam vessel with iron hull. Among the wreckage are two boilers and the propeller shaft. Also we found the aperture in the stern frame. The huge mast which is lying buried under the remains of the wreck. Full story

 

 

logoIn the early 1960s, Sri Lankan sports divers Arthur C.Clarke, Mike Wilson and Rodney Jonklaas, found and looted many shipwrecks. One of these was the “Silver Wreck”, so-called because she was carrying a cargo of sacks of silver coins minted in India. She was a type of ship called “junks” and sank near the Great Basses, or Maha Ravan Kotte. A film was made using this wreck – Ramnuthuduva. But the several tons of silver have been taken out of the island. A few are in foreign museums but the great majority were stolen, advertised for sale as wealth from “the land of Arthur C.Clarke”, and sold or kept in private hands. Full story 

logoThe Jaffna ships, called thonis, were large cargo ships, traditionally built, but in appearance they were copies of European and Indian ships. They had eyes drawn on either side of the bow, a shrine to god Shiva inside; and a row of false gun-ports were painted along the sides. Before launching a ship or when starting on a voyage, a pooja was conducted smashing coconuts and marking the three Shaivite ash-marks on the stem. About four centuries ago, one of these set sail, as usual to the Maldives. She coasted south up to Ambalangoda , where she was to change course westward. But she, too, became a victim of the sea. Full story

 

logoAnchors from Arab ships the pre-colonial users of Galle port, were sailing round Sri Lanka for many centuries. Galle was one of the many ports in the southern coast – others were Weligama, Matara, Godavaya, Hambantota etc. The MAU discovered the ancient anchorage used by the Arab sailors, and sevaral stone anchors too. The largest one found was estimated to be about a ton in weight. It was the first Arab-type anchor found intact with its wooden arms. Which were sent to Australia for preservative treatments and they were dated to 1390 AD. The stone sections were examined and found likely to be from Oman, where these anchors were used to make. Full story

 

 

logoWhat we found that day was tremendous. Under the mounds, which we thought were reefs, we found some timber sections. Those very fragile wooden parts were covered with thick layer of corals and plants. These were scattered over an about 100 square meter area. Between and around two large mounds there were lots of potsherds. Other than the potsherds, we found some complete and near complete jars. Some were huge and covered in the environment. This was a clear sign that the site was undisturbed and settled as it is. Apart from the potsherds we found some glazed ingots, which were used to glaze or colour the clay pots. Full story

 

 

logoThis large iron wreck lies near the Little Basses reef, in very shallow water, 4 km west to the Little Basses lighthouse. The MAU team measured and compiled a report about it after the exploration carried out in 2008 and 2009. The wreck has also much destroyed by explosions on the part of looters. There is evidence to assume that the ship struck the reef nearby and sank. The stern is still intact and has turned out to be excellent breeding places for marine life. The top part of the engine is just a two feet under water. A large propeller is still intact to its shaft, while the extra propeller lies quite near. Full story

 

 

 

logoThis is another magnificent wreck site at Great Basses. Just opposite to the famous silver coin wreck, this wreck is laying on a sandy bottom, just underneath the lighthouse. The water is crystal clear and the wreck parts are surrounded by hundreds of marine lives. The wreck is known as the bottle wreck due to lot of glass bottles found from the wreck site. These bottles were made in 1850s in Sri Lanka and used to fill soda and lemonade. The origin of the wreck is still unknown but believe to be a 19th century Europium ship. Full story