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Underwater Cultural Heritage in Vietnam

Raising awareness and building capacity



The Bach Dang Battlefield Research Group, in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology (IA) in Vietnam and together with Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS), Monash University and the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University will provide NAS training to students and members of local, provincial and national institutions to help Vietnam preserve and protect its underwater cultural heritage.

Who will benefit?

Archaeological Research

  • 50 communities helped

Education and Outreach

  • 3 communities helped
  • 3 teaching programs
  • 10 sites interpreted
  • 1 exhibitions created

Heritage Management

  • 10 sites managed and conserved
  • 3 communities helped
  • 50 students and/or staff trained


Viet Nam, Asia
20.981957, 105.875244

Project in depth

The preservation and protection of underwater and maritime cultural heritage in Vietnam has had a low priority. There has been little or no formal teaching of maritime archaeology at universities in Vietnam and only a few government archaeologists have received any training in this subject area primarily by going overseas. We provide underwater (NAS) training to Students and University staff, government archaeologists, cultural heritage officers and local community members.This project is designed to increase awareness at local, provincial and national levels about the extent and nature of Vietnam’s underwater and maritime cultural heritage.

Current status

The capacity building project and awareness raising campaign are part of a larger, on-going research project. Members of the Bach Dang project have conducted preliminary investigations of available historical sources, maps, charts and aerial photographs. This research is complimented by archaeological survey, test excavations and stratigraphic coring at Bach Dang and builds upon pilot studies initiated in 2008 by Dr. Lê Thi Lien of the Institute of Archaeology in Hanoi. Work done at Bach Dang hopes to be spread throughout Vietnam and will continue in Van Don in the near future.

The Bach Dang Battlefield Research project investigates sites where historically significant naval battles took place at which the armies and naval forces of Chinese emperor Kublai Khan were defeated by the Vietnamese in 1288AD. This project is designed to increase awareness at local, provincial and national levels about the extent and nature of Vietnam’s underwater and maritime cultural heritage.

This project will capitalise on the presence and experience of international teams of maritime archaeologists and underwater cultural heritage managers as they visit Vietnam on an annual basis for the Bach Dang Battlefield Research project. The Bach Dang project team brings together a team from Australia, USA, Canada and Japan whose primary language for communication and publication is English.

This project intends to provide translation of NAS training into the Vietnamese language in order to increase the number of local participants and increase in-country capacity for underwater research, conservation and management. This project will offer field training to members of local, provincial and national organizations and helps raise awareness of Vietnams underwater cultural heritage.

The project has three key objectives:
1) Increase awareness of underwater cultural heritage in Vietnam by increasing local, provincial and national awareness and understanding
2) Capacity building in maritime archaeology and underwater cultural heritage management in Vietnam
3) Establish a Vietnamese version of NAS training that can be used throughout Vietnam


  • Number of NAS Training courses run in Vietnam
  • Translate NAS training into Vietnamese

Archaeological research at Bach Dang has been supported and conducted by Vietnamese researchers and their partners for more than fifty years. The Bach Dang site and research project has local, provincial and national support guaranteeing sustainability. This awareness raising and capacity building project will form part of this large and on-going research project in Vietnam and is designed to provide the Vietnamese people with the knowledge and capacity to protect and preserve their underwater and maritime cultural heritage in the future.

Related to this project

External links

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Causes Page

Nautical Archaeology Society website

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