officially came into being as an underwater archaeology research institute in 1989, but our research into shipwrecks, shipbuilding techniques, exploration history, and artifact conservation began many years before when we were enthusiastic and determined graduate students.

Dr. Donald H. Keith
has served as the president since the beginning.
Don has directed field work from the Bahamas to Panama and points in between. His need for a space to house the conserved artifacts from the Molasses Reef wreck was instrumental in motivating Turks Islanders to establish the Turks and Caicos National Museum. Don's extenisive knowledge of the Turks & Caicos Islands history continues to help the Museum grow. Don has directed numerous field research projects in the Islands and has written and lectured extensively. A well respected author and lecturer, his long-standing research interests in ships of the earliest European explorers in the New World has broadened. Most recently, he directed three field seasons on the landmark Search for the Slaveship Trouavdore project. A documentary film on the project is planned as is an exhibit in the Turks & Caicos National Musuem. Don also serves as a Trustee on the Musuem's Board

"Archaeology is interesting enough, but for me doing it under water has additional attractions. On the practical side, it requires more gadgetry and that makes things interesting. From an intellectual point of view, it focuses on one of mankind's most fascinating achievements: the building and sailing of ships. The deeper you dive into underwater archaeology, the more interesting it becomes. The most visible part, the field work, takes only a tiny fraction of the average archaeologist's time, and the skills used in diving, excavating, and recording are just a few of the things you need to know. Whatever attractions fieldwork may possess—and there are many—the hours spent in the conservation laboratory, shop, studio, library, and archive are the most numerous, fulfilling, and meaningful. This is what I find so fascinating about underwater archaeology: the more you learn, the more there is to do."


"You can say Expert Treasure-hunter instead of Burglar if you like. Some of them do. It's all the same to us."

Gloin the Dwarf to Bilbo Baggins,
The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkein

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