Franck Goddio is a pioneer of modern maritime archaeology. As the grandson of Eric de Bisschop (navigator, writer, inventor of the modern catamaran, and specialist of ancient navigational routes in the South Pacific), a passion for the sea and wanderlust runs in Franck Goddio’s veins. After graduating from theÉcole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Economique in Paris, Franck Goddio conducted economic and financial counselling missions in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia for the United Nations, and later for the French Foreign Ministry. He was a financial advisor to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and various other governments.
In the early 1980’s he decided to dedicate himself entirely to his passion – underwater archaeology – and founded the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM), of which he is currently president. Franck Goddio has initiated and directed a number of excavations on shipwrecks including seven junks from the 11th-16th century, two Spanish galleons and two trading vessels of the British East India Company. Notable among these excavations are the San Diego (a Spanish galleon from the famous Manila-Acapulco-Sevilla trade route) and the Royal Captain (a British East India Company ship, where complex technical problems due to the great depth (350 m) had to be overcome during the mission), as well as the Orient, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Flagship during his campaign in Egypt.
Franck Goddio’s most ambitious projects are conducted off the coast of Egypt, in Alexandria’s eastern harbour and in the Bay of Aboukir (30km east of Alexandria). In partnership with the Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities a vast area the size of Paris has been mapped and investigated since 1992. In 2000, the ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion and parts of the city of Canopus were discovered in the Bay of Aboukir. The research is ongoing to this date.
Excavation projects directed by Franck Goddio have a strictly non-commercial purpose and his work is always carried out in cooperation with the national authorities in whose territorial waters the exploration is taking place. The excavation work is founded on legal provisions that regulate underwater excavations and on international archaeological standards (UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage). Franck Goddio works with professionals from various scientific fields. Archaeologists, Egyptologists, historians, geologists, geophysicists, computer engineers and many more, all have their place in the team. His research projects have been supported by the Hilti Foundation since 1996. In 2003, in co-operation with the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology, the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (OCMA) was founded. Franck Goddio is Visiting Professor in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Oxford.