Hoi An Field School Call for Expressions of Interest

VMAP, in association with the Institute of Archaeology (Vietnam) and Flinders University, will conduct a two week terrestrial and maritime-based maritime archaeology field school in Jan/Feb 2018. Fieldwork will take place in the World Heritage Areas at Hue and Hoi An and the Marine Protected Area at Cu Lao Cham and will include a visit to the World Heritage Area at My Son. Accommodation will be at the Bach Dang Hotel in Hoi An.

Sat 26 / Sun 27 January to Sat 10 / Sun 11 Feb 2018. Dates are fixed.


1. Marine geophysics training and usage project (boat-based, non-diving)
– Side-scan sonar, magnetometer and ROV training and use at Cu Lao Cham.
2. SCUBA Diving project (boat-based, SCUBA diving)
Recording on the shipwreck site at Bai Ong and diving on targets found using maritime geophysics equipment
3. Cannon recording project in Hue (terrestrial, non-diving)
– 3D modeling, drawing, photography and cataloguing of the Dutch shipwreck cannons located in Hue.
4. Traditional boat building recording project (terrestrial, non-diving)
– 3D modeling, drawing, photography and cataloguing of traditional style Bau boats built by the master boat builders of Kim Bong village near Hoi An.

SCUBA diving certification is not required.

Language of instruction: English


Masters students at Flinders University may be eligible for funding of $2,000 under the Asia Postgraduate Programme scheme (conditions apply). Students at other universities should contact Mark Polzer for further information Mark.Polzer@flinders.edu.au

All participants will be expected to arrange and pay for their visa for Vietnam as well as travel insurance and their own airfares to and from Da Nang in Vietnam (Approximate cost AUD$800).

Participant Fee: US$1,000, AUD$ 1,200 or 800 Euros. This fee will be used to cover on-the-ground expenses such as ground transportation, food and accommodation as well as making a contribution towards the fieldwork costs.

Potential participants should send an email expression of interest that includes the following information: Name, email address, a photocopy of the information page of your passport and a brief (half page) cv or biography to:

For more information contact: Mark.staniforth@flinders.edu.au

Hoi An holds shipwreck exhibition

An exhibition in the the heritage town of Hoi An showcases a vast array of artefacts retrieved from Vietnam’s waters in recent years.

Shipwreck exhibition in Quang Nam. Source: Tuoi Tre News 20150913
Shipwreck exhibition in Quang Nam. Source: Tuoi Tre News 20150913

Exhibition dedicated to shipwreck artifacts taking place in central Vietnam
Tuoi Tre News, 13 September 2015

Over 1,000 time-honored objects and specimens retrieved from sea wreckage are being displayed in a newly inaugurated exhibition hall in the central province of Quang Nam.

The People’s Committee of Hoi An City, home to the UNESCO-recognized Hoi An Ancient Town, on Saturday opened the hall, housed in a storm shelter structure in Tan Hiep Commune.

The space is dedicated to preserving and displaying articles scooped up from shipwrecks off Cu Lao Cham Island, 15km off the province’s coast, and its neighboring waters.

Full story here.

Vietnam plans to establish an underwater archaeology centre

In its next step to build capability in underwater archaeology operations, the Institute of Archaeology plans to submit a proposal to set up a centre for underwater archaeological research to be based in Hoi An.

VN to set up centre for underwater archaeology
Viet Nam Net, 06 July 2015

Viet Nam plans to build the country’s first Centre for Underwater Archaeological Research in Hoi An this year, Nguyen Giang Hai, the head of Viet Nam’s Archaeology Institute, told Viet Nam News yesterday, July 5.

Hai said the centre, which has initial investment of VND200 billion (US$9.5 million), would boost research in underwater archaeology.

“It’s a very new science, but Viet Nam has a 3,200km coastline. Many shipwrecks are yet to be discovered. The centre will help the country explore the precious value of underwater heritage and the history of our sea and islands,” Hai said.

“The institute has asked for advice from international archaeologists and scientists to build the centre,” he said.
The institute will submit a proposal for the centre to the Prime Minister for approval and funding later this year.
Seafaring has been a way of life in Viet Nam for more than 2,000 years.

According to Hai, local people had stolen precious antiques from sunken ships, and 130,000 objects had been stolen in Ca Mau Province alone.

Full story here.

In Hoi An, disagreement over how to preserve a bridge

Heritage experts are at a loss at how to preserve an iconic landmark in Hoi An, the Chua Cau bridge, which is both historic and at the same time still in use.

Chua Cau bridge in Hoi An. Source: Thanh Nien News 20150703
Chua Cau bridge in Hoi An. Source: Thanh Nien News 20150703

Heads scratched in Hoi An about how to preserve ancient bridge
Thanh Nien News, 03 July 2015

Authorities in the ancient town of Hoi An have yet to find a solution for the preservation of an iconic 400-year-old bridge though its state of repair has been worsening for at least 16 years.

Nguyen Chi Trung, director of the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management Preservation, said experts are divided over how to restore Chua Cau (Pagoda Bridge) — a complex consisting of a bridge over a small canal and a pagoda on one end.

Trung said on one hand, they suggested “placing the site in a glass cage”, meaning that it should be put under restriction and a new bridge should be built next to it so that visitors can admire it without using it.
But others said that the addition of a new bridge would change the whole view, he said.

Yet others said the bridge should be restored but used because it is also a traffic facility.

Full story here.

Hoi An’s wells to be restored

Hoi An’s ancient wells will be restored, according to a new plan to revitalise the water system.

A well at Hoi An Market. Source: Viet Nam News 20150204
A well at Hoi An Market. Source: Viet Nam News 20150204

Hoi An to reopen ancient wells
Viet Nam News, 04 February 2015

The historic central city of Hoi An plans to restore 80 ancient wells, most of them locate on the north bank of the De Vong River near the Thanh Ha pottery village.

Built in the 15th century by the Cham people, most of the city’s ancient wells are unusable or buried underground due to rapid urbanisation, said Nguyen Chi Trung, director of Hoi An’s Centre for Monuments Management and Preservation.

Trung said the plan would render usable several wells near the old town, including those at Kazik Park, the house of the Nguyen Tuong royal family at 658 Hai Ba Trung Street, and Am Hon Temple (built to worship the souls of the dead).

Full story here.

Hoi An revamps ticketing system

The ticketing system for Hoi An has been revamped to combat widespread inefficiencies in the present system. Proceeds from the sale of tickets go towards restoration works.

Tourism in Hoi An. Source: Viet Nam News 20140610
Tourism in Hoi An. Source: Viet Nam News 20140610

Hoi An to issue tourist cards
Viet Nam News, 10 June 2014
Continue reading “Hoi An revamps ticketing system”

Maritime museum to be constructed in Hoi An

A museum centred on trade activities in the 17th and 18th centuries will be built in the historical city of Hoi An. There doesn’t  seem to be any indication on the date of completion though.

Hoi An to build Faifoo ship museum

Vietnam Net Bridge, 18 September 2009
Continue reading “Maritime museum to be constructed in Hoi An”

Hoi An's Old Quarter gears up for Tourism and Culture Festival

The historic Old Quarter of the World Heritage town of Hoi An is gearing up for a week-long festival of tourism and culture where visitors can immerse themselves into the old-world charm of the town.

Nhan Dan, 25 March 2008

Old Quarter gets ancient in Hoi An
Nhan Dan, 25 March 2008
Continue reading “Hoi An's Old Quarter gears up for Tourism and Culture Festival”

Hoi An in danger of being washed away by floods

19 November 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – The historic buildings of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam is in danger of being damaged and washed away by floods.


World heritage sites of Hoi An endangered due to floods
by Tien Phong

Many ancient houses in the UNESCO-designated World Heritage site in the old town of Hoi An have been submerged in flood waters and are in danger of collapsing.

The 160 ancient houses, which display a unique blend of local and foreign influenced architectural styles due to its status as a major harbor town of the 16th and 17th centuries, are a major tourist attraction of the central region.

The recent floods have strongly affected the central provinces, killing over 50 people and causing extensive damage to property and crops.