Expedition Costa Rica [2015-2016]

Expedition Costa Rica Project


Known as “EL Lanchon”, or simply “the barge”, locals of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica primarily visit to take advantage of its prime fishing location. Although research is ongoing, this derelict craft may have ties to the digging of the Panama Canal.

During the summer of 2015, the Program of Maritime Studies of East Carolina conducted a field class in Costa Rica to explore the maritime culture of the settlement of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo located along the nation’s southern Caribbean coast. Students participated in an array of activities including underwater archaeological mapping and recording techniques on shipwrecks and an iron pier. Two ECU faculty instructors headed the program and helped students compile data, work on drawings and photographs, as well as geo-referencing the information after the class.



Maritime archaeologists in-training survey a submerged vessel in the warm waters of Costa Rica.




The study allowed students to investigate local culture by compiling a maritime cultural inventory through exploration of the local area. The goal was to understand how locals effect and are in turn affected by the surrounding environment. By speaking with the local community and studying the art, relics, and shipwrecks in the community, students will be able to create a picture of the maritime history in Costa Rica. To learn more, visit the Expedition Costa Rica website.

Utilizing hundreds of photographs taken of an abandoned barge in Costa Rica, Dr. Nathan Richard’s created a three-dimensional model, which is interactive and can be explored below.