Franck Goddio

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Franck Goddio (* 1947 in Casablanca , Morocco ) is a French underwater archaeologist who became known through spectacular discoveries such as the sunken city of Thonis-Herakleion , the sunken royal quarters of Alexandria or the Spanish galleon San Diego. The trained statistician and financial advisor has been carrying out investigations and excavations in the sea around the globe on behalf of the respective states since 1985. He has gathered a large, interdisciplinary team of experts around him and works closely with state authorities and internationally renowned research institutes. In 2009 Goddio was awarded the French Order of the Legion of Honor. In the same year he was appointed visiting professor at the Archaeological Institute at Oxford University. Goddio has been Visiting Professor of Underwater Archeology at Oxford University since 2018. Goddio lives in Madrid .


Financial advice

After studying statistics and mathematics at the École nationale de la statistique et de l'administration économique in Paris, Goddio was a sought-after advisor to governments and international organizations such as the United Nations as a financial expert . When he received an offer from the World Bank to collaborate in 1983 , he turned it down and completely reoriented himself.

Underwater archeology

That change of heart was partly due to his grandfather Eric de Bisschop , who is considered the inventor of the modern catamaran . The South Seas explorer discovered and adopted this type of boat from Polynesian fishermen. The books and films of de Bisschop's expeditions inspired Goddio for his underwater expeditions. Therefore he turned his "passion for the sea" and its "hidden treasures" into a profession and, since the early 1980s, has devoted himself almost exclusively to his research in the field of underwater archeology. In 1987 he founded the private European Institute for Underwater Archeology ( Institut Européen d'Archéologie Sous-Marine , IEASM) in Paris . His motivation: Scientific research on behalf of those countries that cannot afford these projects themselves. Goddio's work has been financed by the Liechtenstein Hilti Foundation since 1996.

Through years of experience in locating and recovering shipwrecks and, since 1992, through the search for sunken cities, Franck Goddio developed a unique research approach over time that makes him one of the leading underwater archaeologists worldwide. In his research and rescue missions he adheres to strict archaeological standards, makes the discovered objects accessible to the public and works closely with national and local authorities, scientists and internationally renowned research institutes. Since 2003 there has been a cooperation with the University of Oxford, where the Oxford Center for Maritime Archeology was founded. The underwater archaeologist is the author of several books, scientific articles and publications in which he reports on his research and salvage work. In addition, documentaries have been produced by Discovery Channel, BBC, Point du Jour, Spiegel TV and ARTE and broadcast worldwide.

Since the 1990s, Goddio has discovered fourteen historically valuable ships that had lain undiscovered on the ocean floor for several centuries. These included junks from the 11th to 15th centuries, the Spanish galleon San Diego , the Royal Captain , a ship of the British East India Company and the L'Orient , the flagship of Napoleon Bonaparte. Some of his most significant discoveries were parts of the sunken King's Quarter of Alexandria (1996) and the ancient cities of Herakleion and Canopus in the Bay of Abukir in 2000. Goddio's favorite find is a tablet with a decree on customs regulations, which revealed that it could not be localized before City of Thonis is identical to Herakleion.

Goddio's successful search is based on the use of modern equipment. In addition to 3D underwater photography, GPS for mapping, multi-beam bathymetry and side scanner sonar , his scientific staff, in collaboration with the French Atomic Energy Commission, have developed a unique nuclear resonance magnetometer , which is also used as the basis for the French navy 's submarines .


In the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin from May 13th to September 4th, 2006 the lavish presentation '' '' 'Egypt's Sunken Treasures' '' '' was exhibited. In a world premiere, around 500 finds were presented there, which Franck Goddio and his team, in cooperation with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, have recovered during expeditions off the Egyptian Mediterranean coast since 1992. 450,000 visitors visited the exhibition. The exhibition then went to the Grand Palais in Paris (December 8, 2006 - March 16, 2007). to Bonn / Bundeskunsthalle (April 2007 - January 2008), to Madrid / Matadero (April - December 2008), to Turin / Venaria Reale (February - May 2009) and to Yokohama / Pacifico (June - September 2009). A total of 2.7 million people visited "Egypt's Sunken Treasures".

Artifacts from Goddio's expeditions were on tour in the USA from 2010 to 2013 with the exhibition, Cleopatra - The Search For The Last Queen of Egypt .

In 2015 the exhibition Osiris, Mystères engloutis d'Égypte opened at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, with finds from Goddio's expeditions in Thonis-Herakleion and canopies and masterpieces from Egyptian museums. The exhibition then moved to the British Museum in London under the title "Sunken Cities, Egypt's lost worlds. Further stations were the Museum Rietberg, Zurich (Osiris, the sunken secret of Egypt); Saint Louis Art Museum, March-September 2018, in Saint Louis (MO, USA); Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis (MN, USA) Nov 2018-April 2019; Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Simi Valley (CA), Oct 2019-April 2020 and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (VA), July 2020 - January 2021.

Expeditions (selection)

  • 1991: the Spanish galleon San Diego , sunk in 1600 with a rich load of china, near Manila , Philippines
  • 1996–2003: the sunken quarter of the royal palaces in the port basin of Alexandria , Egypt
  • 1997: the junk from the Lena sandbank, Lena Shoal junk , with ceramics from the Ming Dynasty , Philippines
  • 1997: The Royal Captain of the English East India Company, Palawan, Philippines, sunk in 1773
  • 1998/1999: Napoleon's lost fleet with his flagship "Orient" from the battle against Admiral Nelson in 1798, Abukir , Egypt
  • 2000–2003: the Egyptian port city of Herakleion (ancient Thonis), whose actual existence - until then only known from ancient writings - has been proven, as well as parts of the city of Canopus in the Bay of Abukir, Egypt
  • 2002: the junk Santa Cruz with over 10,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain from the 15th century, in original packaging, Philippines
  • 2003: the French slave ship Adelaide , sunk in 1714, Cuba
  • from 2004: Carrying out underwater archaeological investigations and measurements off the coast of the Philippines with the help of newly developed geophysical tracking devices.
  • from 2004: Investigations and excavations off the coast of Egypt in the Bay of Abukir, in the sites Kanopus-Ost and Thonis-Herakleion as well as studies on the topography of the region. Further excavations in the east port of Alexandria.


  • with J.-P. Desroches, et al .: Die Schätze der San Diego, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, 1997, ISBN 3-87024-380-5
  • Weisses Gold , Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 1997, ISBN 3-88243-537-2
  • Sunken treasures. Archaeological discoveries under water. Theiss, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-8062-1931-1
  • with Manfred Clauss (ed.), photographs by Christoph Gerigk: Egypt's sunken treasures . Prestel Verlag, Munich 2006, 464 pp., Numer. color illus., ISBN 978-3-7913-3544-5 , ISBN 3-7913-3544-8
  • Treasures from the seven seas , Prestel Verlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-7913-3634-3
  • Underwater Archeology in the Canopic Region - The Topography and Excavation of Heracleion-Thonis and East Canopus (1996-2006), Oxford Center for Maritime Archeology, Oxford 2007, ISBN 978-0-9549627-3-9
  • with Zahi Hawass , Cleopatra - The Search for the last Queen of Egypt , National Geographic, Washington DC 2010, ISBN 978-1-4262-0545-3
  • with Damian Robinson (ed.), Thonis-Heracleion in context, Oxford Center for Maritime Archeology, Oxford 2015, ISBN 978-1-9059-05331
  • with David Fabre, "Osiris, Egypt's sunken Myteries", Paris 2015, ISBN 978-2-08137873-5
  • with Aurélia Masson-Berghoff, "Sunken cities, Egypt's lost worlds", London, 2016, ISBN 978-0-500-29237-2
  • with Sylvie Cauville, Göttinger Miszellen - Contributions to the Egyptological discussion (issue 253/2017), “De la Stèle du Satrape (lignes 14-15) au Temple de Kom Ombo” (n ° 950), pp. 45–54


  • Discovery Channel productions broadcast worldwide:
    • Cleopatra's sunken palace - in search of a legend
    • Cities on the ocean floor
    • Herakleion - A city appears
    • Napoleon's sunken fleet. Written and directed by the German version: Thorsten Leonhardt
    • The Treasure of the Royal Captain Script and direction of the German version: Thorsten Leonhardt
  • The Treasures of San Diego - A Dive Back In Time. Documentation, 1997, director: Torsten Sasse, production: ARD
  • Dive into the past: China's heirs . Production: ZDF -Expedition, first broadcast: September 12, 2004.
  • The legacy of the pharaohs - treasures on the sea floor. Documentation, 45 min., Written and directed: Christopher Gerisch, production: ZDF, first broadcast: June 18, 2006.
  • Egypt's sunken treasures are moving. 50 min., First broadcast: VOX , April 10, 2007, table of contents by Spiegel TV
  • Franck Goddio: On the trail of sunken treasures (DVD) Spiegel TV, 2006, ISBN 3-937901-24-8 (German / English) Spiegel Online
  • Egypt's sunken port city - a myth emerges . Production: Arte, first broadcast: May 11, 2013 [1]


  • Hakan Baykal and Joachim Schüring: The luck of the efficient. In: Adventure archeology . Spectrum of Science, Heidelberg 2006, 2, 14ff. ISSN  1612-9954
  • Lars Abromeit (text) and Christoph Gerigk (photos), “Atlantis on the Nile, the sunken port city of the pharaohs: how it flourished, how it went down”. In: Geo, October 2014
  • Jürgen Bischoff: Dive to the Pharaohs: Franck Goddio's discoveries in Egypt . (with photos by Christoph Gerigk) Göttingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-95829-193-5

Web links

  • [2] - Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (VA)
  • [3] - Egypt's Lost Cities, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Simi Valley (CA)
  • [4] - Sunken Cities, Egypt's lost worlds, Saint Louis Art Museum (MI, USA)
  • [5] - Egypt's Sunken Cities, Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN, USA)
  • [6] - Osiris, the sunken secret of Egypt, Rietberg Museum, Zurich
  • [7] - Sunken cities, Egypt's lost worlds, British Museum
  • [8] - Osiris, Mystères engloutis d'Égypte, Institut du Monde Arabe
  • [9] - Egypt's Sunken Treasures
  • [10] - National Geographic - Cleopatra
Pictures and videos

Individual evidence

  1. Jump up ↑ The Adventure of the San Diego, Geo, March 1996
  3. ^ "Statisticians on a treasure hunt" , Spiegel online, May 10, 2006
  4. ^ Hilti Foundation
  6. Osiris was always there , NZZ, January 13, 2017, title of the print edition.
  7. ( Memento from July 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Weltwunder in der Kloake, Spiegel, November 11, 1996
  15. Atlantis of Lust: Three sunken cities lie off the coast of Egypt, Die Zeit, June 8, 2000