Senegal

Slave Wrecks Project

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Building Capacity to Search for Slave Shipwrecks in West Africa

Since 2014, the Slave Wrecks Project (SWP) has fostered a network of researchers based in the Laboratoire d’Archéologie Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN) at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop . Over the course of five years of dive training, skill building in maritime archeaological technique and remote survey work, SWP is helping its national partners build West Africa’s first maritime archaeological team comprised and led by Africans. SWP’s commitment to providing unique opportunities for global training and collaboration through its global network have allowed Senegalese partners to participate in fieldwork, conservation, and museum workshops in St. Croix, Mozambique, and South Africa in addition to Senegal. Likewise, Mozambican and South African SWP members have provided dive training and fieldwork in Senegal.

SWP will continue to develop these opportunities in our theaters to protect cultural heritage and encourage more research in slavery and its legacies. SWP is building our research profile to look toward identifying the wrecks of slavers off the coast of Senegal. Like our other theaters of exploration, we are engaging in underwater and terrestrial archaeology, capacity building, community engagement, and preservation with our global partners the National Park Service–Submerged Resources Center and Southeast Archeological Center, The George Washington University, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

To learn more about the SWP work being lead in Senegal by Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw, click here.

Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw, an archaeologist and professor at the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, leads a group of students on dive training looking for shipwrecks in the waters off of Dakar. Dr. Thiaw is training a new generation of maritime and terrestrial archaeologists in West Africa. The Slave Wrecks Project's global collaborations bring students all over the world for training and capacity building, in order to tell the truly global story of slavery through the lens of maritime archaeology.

AFP News Agency
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  • A group of divers in wetsuits pose for a photograph.
    Dr. Ibrahima Thaiw, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, and students in Dakar, Senegal. Photo by Elimane Ndiaye
  • Divers prepare to to leave the boat in Dakar.
    SWP archaeological survey and training in Dakar. Photo by Susanna Pershern, National Park Service.
  • Researchers use equipment to examine the seafloor aboard a boat in Dakar.
    SWP archaeological survey and training in Dakar. Photo by Susanna Pershern, National Park Service.
  • Students in wetsuits listen to a lesson aboard a boat in Dakar.
    Students at SWP archaeological survey and training in Dakar. Photo by Susanna Pershern, National Park Service.
  • Divers in the water in Dakar about to dive on shipwrecks.
    Students about to dive at SWP archaeological survey and training in Dakar. Photo by Susanna Pershern, National Park Service.