Core Partners

Slave Wrecks Project Core Partners

The Slave Wrecks Project core partners bring together complementary strengths and capacities in their international collaborative effort to investigate the slave trade from novel and multifaceted scholarly perspectives, to address the challenge of preserving and protecting this unique heritage, and to provide the training and build institutional capacities toward this effort. The project develops innovative interpretive and dissemination platforms in museums, on the Web, and through public programs that speak to both the local significance of this heritage in specific locations across the globe and to the global significance that this shared heritage represents.

(In Alphabetical Order)

  • Diving With a Purpose (DWP)

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A registered not-for-profit organization, Diving With a Purpose is a subsidiary of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS). Founded in 1991, NABS is an international membership organization with a mission to create a network of people and resources that provide educational experiences that enhance and promote an appreciation of diving and an awareness of the aquatic environment. DWP provides a specialization within that broader mission, focusing particularly on underwater archaeology education. DWP and SWP are strategic partners in underwater archaeology surveys. Jose Jones is a co-founder of NABS, a director of DWP and the DWP representative and co-chair of SWP’s advisory board.

  • The George Washington University (GWU) – Capitol Archaeological Institute (CAI)

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The George Washington University is private research university located in Washington, D.C. The university was chartered by an Act of Congress in 1821 as the Columbian College in the nation’s capital. It is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. Based at GWU, CAI aims to protect and preserve cultural heritage through advocacy programs and initiatives by using the multitude of diplomatic and governmental resources in the Washington, D.C., area. Stephen Lubkemann, associate professor of anthropology, Africana studies and international affairs at GWU, is co-founder of SWP and serves as its international coordinator. He is also the co-principal investigator on the São José project.

  • IZIKO Museums of South Africa

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Iziko is an isiXhosa word meaning “a hearth.” Because the hearth of a typical African homestead usually occupies the central space, Iziko symbolizes both a hub of cultural activity and a central place for gathering together South Africa’s diverse heritage. Iziko Museums of South Africa is a declared national heritage institution established as a flagship museum bringing together 11 museums under a single governance and leadership structure. Iziko is governed by a council appointed by the minister of arts and culture. Its core mission is to manage and promote Iziko’s unique combination of South Africa’s heritage collections, sites and services for the benefit of present and future generations. Jaco Boshoff is a maritime archaeologist for Iziko and a co-founder of SWP and the principal archaeological investigator on the São José shipwreck excavation.

  • U.S. National Park Service (NPS) – Southeast Archaeological Center (SEAC)

nps logo  NPS SEAC

The U.S. National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience their heritage. It cares for 401 national parks and helps communities preserve their historic places and open spaces. SEAC performs archaeological research, promotes education and outreach and offers technical support for U.S. national park units in the southeast region of the United States. It has been a core collaborator in SWP research and training efforts undertaken in Florida (since 2010) and in the developing efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands (since 2014). David Morgan is SEAC’s director and SWP’s prime liaison.

  • U.S. National Park Service (NPS) – Submerged Resources Center (SRC)

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The U.S. National Park Service Submerged Resources Center supports stewardship for the protection, preservation, public access and interpretation of submerged resources. Since 2009, the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center has been a principal contributor to SWP for technical capacity, training, remote sensing survey—and has provided training opportunities for African and American researchers in the United States. David Conlin is SRC’s chief at the National Park Service and the SRC’s principal representative to SWP.

  • Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an Act of Congress in 2003 making it the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Scheduled for completion in fall 2016, it is being built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument. For more information, visit or call (202) 633-1000. Paul Gardullo is a historian and curator at the museum and its lead representative with SWP.

  • South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA)

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SAHRA is the national heritage agency in South Africa and is one of the founding partners of SWP. A statutory organization established under the National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999, SAHRA is the national administrative body responsible for the protection of South Africa’s cultural heritage. John Gribble is the manager of the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit at SAHRA and is the principal liaison with SWP (

Honorary Partners

  • African Centre for Heritage Activities (ACHA)

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The African Centre for Heritage Activities is a South African-based not-for-profit organization that does development and capacity building work across Africa. ACHA also carries out excavations, undertakes heritage and archaeological impact assessments and acts as a center for researchers and research into all things heritage. It helps researchers access funding and international networks of experts and coordinates global projects aimed at developing heritage, capacity and economies. Jonathan Sharfman is its director and a maritime archaeologist working in sub-Saharan Africa. Sharfman has been associated with SWP since 2005.