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Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project - Shipwrecks of the Roaring 40s

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project ‘Shipwrecks of the Roaring 40s’ ran from 2014 to 2016. The aim of the project was to substantially improve our understanding of the European expansion in the Indian Ocean and Australia region in the 17th and 18th centuries, by taking a new look at maritime archaeological sites. This involved revisiting the shipwreck sites excavated 40 years ago, and investigating how new methods and techniques, and new research questions, might help us reinterpret the sites and the past.

A maritime archaeological reassessment of some of Australia's earliest shipwrecks

From 1971–1981, seven European shipwrecks off the Western Australian coast were investigated by a group of archaeologists and conservators at the Western Australian Museum in Fremantle. These events placed Australia at the forefront of maritime archaeology globally, and led to Western Australia enacting the world’s first underwater heritage legislation, an example followed by the Commonwealth in 1976.


  • Western Australian Museum (Department of Maritime Archaeology)
  • University of Western Australia (Archaeology, Geophysics, Forensics, iVEC @ UWA)
  • Australian Research Council
  • British Museum
  • Flinders University, East Carolina University, and Curtin University
  • The Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service
  • Cultural Heritage Agency and National Archives of the Netherlands
  • Prospero Productions

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