Map highlighting 5 project areas: Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka
© EuroGraphics for the administrative boundaries
© 2020 Microsoft Corporation Earthstar Geographics SIO

Welcome to MAHS

The Maritime Asia Heritage Survey (MAHS) builds upon the Maldives Heritage Survey pilot project that was based at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies to expand the work of digitally documenting historical and archaeological sites across the broader region of maritime Southern Asia, including new field survey work in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Brunei, and Vietnam.

The seasonal monsoon cycles of Maritime Southern Asia have for centuries facilitated the circulation of people, materials and ideas across this vast seascape and created a rich mosaic of diverse local cultures. Today, many of the important sites, monuments and objects associated with this rich history are increasingly under threat: exposed to environmental stress from cyclones, tsunami, coastal erosion, land subsidence and rising sea-levels; rapid and unplanned development and construction; and in some instances deliberate acts of vandalism.

To document this endangered heritage, the MAHS field teams use digital technologies including GPS/RTK (Real-Time Kinetic) mapping, digital photography, video, CAD drawings and IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) standard manuscript digitizations, as well as aerial and terrestrial LiDAR to produce robust records for the benefit of historians, local communities, and heritage management professionals. Our database also provides a platform for the standardization and integration of other data sets that have been generously shared with us by partner institutions and individuals across the region.

All records and other digital heritage assets produced by the MAHS are made open-access available online here and permanently archived in the library systems of Kyoto University and the University of Oxford.

Please note that this is a temporary site. See more about our pilot phase below and come back in 2021 for the full brand new website.


Watch an introductory video about the Maldives Heritage Survey

From April 2018 until 2020 we surveyed  152 islands across six atolls and documented over 288 sites with 1,154 structures, 15,000 small objects, in addition to digitising 410 manuscripts in Dhivehi and Arabic.

Screenshot of Maldives Heritage homepage, with navigation and image of small building with trees in the background
Screenshot of site showing 6 images with text underneath


Our Manuscript Viewer is a web interface providing access to Deep Zoom images of texts on paper and engraved on copper plates related to the history of the Maldives. The materials presented here include manuscripts digitized by our Survey Team in the field and in the collections of the Maldives National Museum in Malé, as well as scans generously provided with permission by the Maldives National Archives.


This database has been produced by the Maldives Heritage Survey to systematically inventory and document endangered cultural heritage in the Maldives, including mosques, Muslim grave markers, the remains of Buddhist stupas, and other historical structures and physical objects, through digital photography, 3D scanning and GIS. The materials documented here are critically endangered, facing both natural and human threats that jeopardize the survival and accessibility of historical information for this vital node in pre-modern economic and religious networks spanning the Indian Ocean world and beyond.



Kyoto Headquarters Office

R. Michael Feener (Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies / Associate Member, Oxford University Faculty of History), Principal Investigator and Project Leader
Patrick Daly (Earth Observatory of Singapore), Co-Investigator
Noboru Ishikawa (Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies), Co-Investigator
Maida Irawani (Era), Project Manager
Krisztina Baranyai, Database Manager
Mizuho Ikeda, Heritage Documentation Manager
Kata Kenesei, Digital Heritage Assistant
Miho Hayase, Administrative and Finance Support

Field Survey Team

Majewski Jędrzej Marcin (Earth Observatory of Singapore), Field Survey Manager
Ibrahim Mujah (National Center for Cultural Heritage), Maldives Survey Team Field Leader
Shaiha Ahmed Easa, Maldives Country Coordinator
Mohamed Shamran, Maldives Field Survey Team
Fathimath Maasa, Maldives Field Survey Team
Multia Zahara, Indonesia Country Coordinator
Jovial Pally Taran (Joe), Indonesia Field Survey Team
Ahmad Zaki, Indonesia Field Survey Team

International Advisory Board

Anthony Reid (Australian National University)
John Miksic (National University of Singapore)
Pierre-Yves Manguin (École Française d’Extrême-Orient)
Angela Schottenhammer (KU Leuven)
Valerie Hansen (Yale University)
Himanshu Ray (Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies)
Elizabeth Lambourn (De Montfort University)
Andrew Peacock (University of St Andrews)
Sunil Amrith (Yale University)
Nira Wickramasinghe (Leiden University)
Alan Strathern (University of Oxford)
Anne Blackburn (Cornell University)
Anne Haour (University of East Anglia)
Arlo Griffiths (École Française d’Extrême-Orient)
Lê Thị Liên (Vietnamese Association of Archaeology)
Mauroof Jameel (Coral Stone Mosque Project, Maldives Department of Heritage)
Idham Bachtiar Setiadi (World Spice Routes Foundation/Yayasan Jalur Rempah Dunia)
Bachamiya Abdul Hussainmiya (The Southeastern University of Sri Lanka, Oluvil)
Leonard Andaya (University of Hawaii)
Tansen Sen, NYU Shanghai
Dennis McGilvray (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Peter Borschberg (National University of Singapore)
Xavier Romero-Frias (Independent Scholar)
George Bryan Souza (University of Texas, San Antonio)
Edmund Edwards McKinnon (Independent Researcher)
Miriam T. Stark (University of Hawaii)

Maldives Heritage Survey Alumni

Michael Frachetti (Washington University of St. Louis), Research Collaborator
Jessica Rahardjo (University of Oxford), Cataloguer
Mariyam Isha Azeez, Maldives Heritage Survey Field Team
Paula Levick, Maldives Heritage Survey Field Team
Hayatullah, Maldives Heritage Survey Field Team
Ahmed Ikram, Maldives Heritage Survey Field Team
Zimam Athif, Maldives Heritage Survey Field Team
Aminath Mauroof Jameel (Aimee), Maldives Heritage Survey Volunteer Ismail Ashraf (Department of Heritage), Maldives Heritage Survey Volunteer
Ahmed Ikleel (Ikoo), Maldives Heritage Survey Volunteer
Zara Unais, Maldives Heritage Survey Volunteer
Maahil Saeed, Maldives Heritage Survey Volunteer
Muna Amina, Maldives Heritage Survey Volunteer
Ismail Nasru, Project Resource Team
Ahmed Zameer, Project Resource Team


Kyoto office
Maritime Asia Heritage Survey (MAHS)
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University 46 Shimo-Adachi, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku,
Kyoto 606-8501

〒606-8501 京都市左京区吉田下阿達町46 京都大学東南アジア地域研究研究所
TEL (+81) 075-753-7314