IEASM’s approach consists of locating the archaeological sites based on specific historical questions as, for example, the mapping of the ancient port of Alexandria, or, in the Philippines, the description of milestones in the history of global trade. Generally speaking, a mission starts with research in archives or libraries. The critical evaluation of the texts and their interpretation is fundamental in the identification of a viable survey area. In the proceeding survey phase, non-intrusive geophysical methods are used to yield a maximum amount of information. After the area has been mapped, regular isolated probes are sunk in order to characterise anomalies revealed by the maps. Once the archaeological deposits are located and confirmed, information about the features and the extent of the site allows a targeted excavation.
The chosen sites are then prepared and grids are laid out for the spatial positioning and careful removal of the sediments that have accumulated over time. Following this, the diving crew makes drawing and photographic surveys, takes samples for analysis or dating and labels the artifacts that are being brought to the surface. The objects are then subjected to a sometimes long and complex process of restoration and preservation. Studying the artifacts and the excavation data results in an analysis of the site with the findings being published in scientific publications. To fulfill its mission, IEASM invites and consults a range of experts in the fields of archaeology, history, restoration, conservation and geophysics and employs cutting-edge technology depending on the specific issues being considered. Whether in the Philippines, in Egypt or in Cuba, IEASM works as a matter of principle under the authority and in close collaboration with national institutions in charge of the archaeological heritage and in compliance with the standards of the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.