Building Capacity to Search for Slave Shipwrecks in West Africa
Since 2014, the Slave Wrecks Project has fostered a network of researchers based in the Laboratoire d’Archéologie Institut Fondamental d’Afrique noire (IFAN) University Cheikh Anta Diop. Over the course of 5 years of dive training, skill building in maritime archeological technique and remote survey work, SWP is helping its national partners build West Africa’s first maritime archeological 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 and 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 begin 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 archeology, 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 & Culture.