The Maldives is an important site on the historic maritime crossroads facilitating the circulation of peoples, goods, and ideas across the Indian Ocean world. This lightly populated archipelago of coral atolls has at various points been home to Buddhist monastic communities, a Muslim sultanate, brief Portuguese occupation as well as in turns a Dutch and British protectorate before the establishment of the modern state in 1968.
Today, its low-lying islands are facing an existential threat from climate change. Until recently, relatively little archaeological work had been done in the country, and source material for the early history of these islands has been rather limited.
The Maritime Asia Heritage Survey is working to systematically inventory and document the tangible cultural heritage of the country to produce an open access on-line archive to inform academic studies on the history of the Maldives, support heritage management plans, and to produce permanent documentation and other digital assets to preserve records the country’s rich past for future generations.