The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology

The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (OCMA) is a specialist research group within the School of Archaeology supported by the Hilti Foundation. It is devoted to the study of people who live or work on and around water.

The OCMA offers undergraduate and postgraduate options in maritime archaeology; post-graduate research ranges from the Mediterranean and its surrounding seas and oceans to the maritime cultures and peoples of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea from antiquity to the early modern period.

The Centre currently partners a number of fieldwork projects. In Egypt, the OCMA collaborates on projects implemented by the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM), under the direction of Franck Goddio supported by the Hilti Foundation. It also works in Libya.

The OCMA also promotes research through a vigorous programme of international conferences that bring together specialists in maritime cultures, as well as outreach events aimed at a more general audience. The Centre’s peer-reviewed monograph series is published in-house and distributed by Oxbow Books. The series includes excavation reports, specialist object analyses, and edited thematic volumes based upon OCMA conferences.


RTI imaging from a silicon impression

A white silicon mould impression of the Stele of Thonis-Heracleion was photographed using RTI photography (Reflectance transformation imaging).  The method was employed to enhance and to reveal surface information that is not disclosed under direct empirical examination of the physical object.  Read More...


The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology offers post-graduate courses in maritime archaeology and provides post-graduate supervision within the School of Archaeology and the Faculty of Classics. Undergraduates are able to take an option in Mediterranean maritime archaeology.


The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology regularly organizes conferences exploring themes within maritime archaeology or relating to the fieldwork of the Centre and of the IEASM.


People involved with the Centre.


Contact details.


The Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology publishes a monograph series as part of the publication programme of the Institute of Archaeology. The OCMA oversees the scholarly publication of the fieldwork conducted by the IEASM in Alexandria and the submerged Canopic region, as well as post-excavation studies of the material culture recovered from these excavations by IEASM specialists and Hilti Foundation sponsored post-graduate students. The monograph series also includes works based upon OCMA’s conferences.

Field Research

The staff of the OCMA undertake maritime research on both land and underwater with a particular emphasis on submerged landscapes, shipwrecks, and sailor’s lives. Underwater, they work collaboratively with the IEASM at the submerged city of Thonis-Heracleion and in the wider Canopic region in Egypt’s northwestern Delta. They are also undertaking post-excavation research and publication of a shipwreck from the Philippines together with colleagues in the IEASM and the National Museum of the Philippines. On land, they are researching sailor’s lives in harbour across the eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age. Research into the coastal economy of eastern Libya is on-going.

© 2012 School of Archaeology; Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation; © Robert Hohlfelder