The search for Kublai Khan’s lost fleets: battlefield archaeology research in Vietnam

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 02/05/2013
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Gallery Building 55 Clayton Campus


CSEAS/MAI Seminar Series presents


Professor Mark Staniforth

The search for Kublai Khan’s lost fleets: battlefield archaeology research in Vietnam


Where? Arts Meeting Room, bld. 55, Monash Clayton

When? 1-2.30 pm, Thursday May 2.



This project investigates the topography, archaeological evidence as well as temples and shrines associated with two highly significant naval battles when Kublai Khan’s invasion fleets were defeated at Bach Dang and Van Don, Vietnam in 1288 A.D. The project aims to undertake a multi-disciplinary geoarchaeological reconstruction of the battlefield landscape, including remains of former stake fields, arefacts and shipwrecks. These investigations will be supplemented by interviews with local residents to determine potential areas of archaeological interest. Since 2008, a group of reserachers from the Institute of Archaeology at Hanoi, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University, Murdoch University and Monash University have conducted investigations of the sites with a focus on studying the battle strategy used by the Vietnamese and identifying ship remains from the battle. This joint paper will present results from this international cooperative project in maritime archaeology in Vietnam where the team has identified several new areas of concentrated stakes and the distribution pattern may lead to better understanding of the battle including the possible location of shipwreck sites.


Professor Mark Staniforth is currently an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the School of Geography and Environmental Science at Monash University. He is a Chief investigator on an on-going research project at the Bach Dang and Van Don archaeological sites in Vietnam where Kublai Khan’s invasion fleets were defeated and largely destroyed in 1288 A.D. He was awarded an Australian Academy of the Humanities HCA-ISL Research Fellowship in 2009 to assist with this research. He is the author of Material Culture and Consumer Society published by Plenum Press of New York in 2003 and the editor (with Mike Nash in 2006) of Maritime Archaeology: Australian Approaches (Springer. New York).