Recognizing a need to bring together researchers, academic and non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies, the Illyrian Coastal Exploration Program (ICEP) was conceptualized and created by RPM Nautical Foundation Archaeological Director, Dr. Jeffrey Royal. The mission of the program is to put together a comprehensive plan for discovering, documenting, and protecting the cultural material record in this entire region.
This region rose to economic and political dominance in the 5th century BCE and includes the modern lands of Albania, Montenegro, and southern Croatia. Since 2006, numerous sites of maritime significance have been discovered by RPM Nautical Foundation off the ancient Illyrian coastline.
Despite political boundaries, this program is a collaborative effort between many governmental and research agencies as well as individuals from academic organizations:
• RPM Nautical Foundation
• The Albanian Center for Marine Research
• The Albanian Ministry of Culture
• The Albanian Institute of Archaeology
• The Albanian Ministry of Defense
• The Montenegro Ministry of Culture-Sport-Media
• The Montenegran Regional De-Mining Center
• The Regional Institute for Cultural Heritage
• The Institute of Nautical Archaeology
• University of Washington/Friday Harbor Laboratory
• East Carolina University
• Transylvania University
Underwater, marine, maritime, or nautical archaeology is simply archaeology done under the water. Together with cultural and physical anthropology and linguistics, archaeology - both on land and underwater - is a subfield of the science of anthropology, the study of humankind. Basically, the tools, techniques, and products are the same no matter where one works, although different environments may require adaptations to the task at hand. But the goals are the same: understanding our past.