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Each step unveils another piece to the puzzle...

Project Status:

Serapis Sails Ahead:

The Latest Significant Milestones for the Serapis Project

  • Established a partnership with the Institute of Civilization / Musee d'art et d' Archeology of the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar.
  • Located the suspected Serapis wreck site after 218 years! (1781 to 1999)
  • Partnered with Plymouth State University (New Hampshire) - fiscal home of the project.
  • Received the support and endorsement of the Madagascar government (2000 to present)
  • Provided Malagasy students scuba training and experience.
  • Created a 100% volunteer team of renowned archaeologists, historians & conservationists.
  • Revisited and continued investigation of the wreck site in 2004
    • Relocated the remains of the Serapis after 4 years.
    • Set a measurement baseline
    • Photographed and drew in various underwater features
    • Recorded LAT/LONG /GPS coordinates
    • Recovered samples of materials for further testing and conservation
    • Initiated a plan for future excavation and recording.
  • Secured funding to continue the archaeological investigation in the fall of 2008.


Next Steps in 2008

  • Continue fund raising efforts and seek in-kind donations.
    • Set up ability for donors to give on-line from the Serapis website. (hyperlink)
    • Contact vendors and various companies to sponsor equipment. (hyperlink)
  • Acquire all necessary equipment and supplies for the fall 2008 expedition.
  • Organize the archaeological team to reconvene in Isle St. Marie.
  • Fulfill 2008 Expedition Goals:
    • Set a baseline over the site for accurate data recovery.
    • Create a preliminary sketch of the site.
    • Conduct video & underwater photography.
    • Excavate one-meter by one-meter test pits in the seabed to hull remains.
    • Collect accurate measurements of the hull remains for comparison with the scantlings of Frigate of the Serapis class.
    • Excavate and athwart-ship trench down to the keelson.
    • Record all steps of the archaeological process to create a document of the wreck material observed.
    • Limited artifact recovery for analysis and ensure proper conservation.
    • Provide Malagasy archaeology students with diving instruction and certification.
    • Assist in the establishment of a maritime display in the museum in Illiot Madame featuring John Paul Jones's famous prize HMS Serapis.
    • Meet with the University of Antananarivo & government officials to discuss future efforts to preserve and exhibit Serapis.


Needs for This Year's Expedition

One-hundred percent of the monetary and professional service donations to the Serapis are used for the final identification of the HMS Serapis, her recovery, preservation and eventual artifact exhibition.

The Serapis Project team continually works to find ways to accomplish much with limited funding, and has appreciated the generosity of in-kind donations. Substantial expenses for this upcoming expedition include the cost of airfare, lodging and meals for the volunteers returning to Madagascar. Monetary or airline mileage donations (particularly for Delta Airlines) are especially appreciated. The team is exceptionally frugal and creative with finances, so even the smallest donation is carefully utilized. All donations are tax deductible. To support the project please click here.