MAST iconMaritime Archaeology Sea Trust

Honor Frost Foundation project - The Battle of Egadi

Developing an Open Source Methodology for the Remote Monitoring of Marine Protected Areas with Satellites, Machine Learning, and AIS for the Field of Maritime Archaeology

Thanks to a £15,000 grant we have been able to assist in the development of a programme to prevent illegal activity of the site off the west coast of Sicily.

Many maritime archaeological sites face threats due to unauthorised salvage, treasure hunting, and souvenir collecting.

The Battle of the Egadi Islands (241 BC) is the only known ancient naval battlefield and the site was discovered following a Carabinieri raid recovering artefacts. A marine protected area (MPA) was created to preserve the site, but MPAs remain susceptible to heritage crime due to challenges with traditional monitoring methods.

Advances in satellite imagery, AIS, and machine learning offer potential for the protection of in situ cultural heritage, advancing the aims of the 2001 UNESCO Convention. Partnering with MAST and OceanMind, through the Maritime Observatory partnership, the global leader in marine monitoring, this project will apply cutting-edge methods and technology to the Egadi MPA to develop a capacity-building white paper for the Honor Frost Foundation (HFF) website that will aid researchers and heritage managers in the HFF region.

The team will be working with the University of Cranfield to produce the white paper in 2023-24 which will be available for wider application and academic research.