CONCHA: The construction of early modern global Cities and oceanic networks in the Atlantic: An approach via Ocean’s Cultural Heritage



Code: H2020- MSCA-RISE-2017 CONCHA PROJECT nº 777998

Start: 2018

Duration: 48 months

Principal Investigator:   João Paulo Oliveira e Costa



CONCHA Community Zenodo:




Funding Entity

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Evaluations (RISE)

Main Research Unit

CHAM — Centro de Humanidades / Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/Universidade Nova de Lisboa | Universidade dos Açores


Associação para as Ciências do Mar
Eveha International
Instituto do Património e Cultura
Mar, Ambiente e Pesca Artesanal
Observatório do Mar dos Açores
Old Dominion University
Trinity College Dublin
Universidad del Norte
Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Universidade Federal de Sergipe


CONCHA’s main goal is to explain the different ways port cities developed around the Atlantic rim from the late 15th and early 16th century in relation to differing global, regional, and local ecological and economic environments. This analysis will be framed around a distinction between two separate navigational systems that existed in the Atlantic during the age of sail (1400-1800): the equatorial passage and the North Atlantic passage. Speaking to different literatures on port cities in the Atlantic, and environmental history, CONCHA aims to produce an Atlantic history of seaports in which the ocean – its ecosystems and species – is included as a dynamic player. CONCHA analyses the history of seaports using historical data as well as geomorphological, environmental, and archaeological studies. As case studies, CONCHA uses different locations in Northern Europe, North America, Iberia, the Atlantic archipelagos, Brazil and Colombia, which were central nodes in the circulation of people, resources, and knowledge in the early modern Atlantic world. Academically, one purpose of CONCHA is to provide, through academic exchange and participation in research missions, highly specialized training to senior and junior scholars and technicians from the different institutions and countries involved in the project. Another importante objective of CONCHA is to develop historical knowledge for heritage purposes. Besides organizing academic workshops and publications, therefore, CONCHA aims to educate by involving the public in historical research by offering lecture series and exhibitions, and by assisting public institutions in the development of heritage conservation and tourism.


Specific objectives of CONCHA are:

1. To address the political concerns and economic motivations driving oceanic expansion in medieval and early modern Europe.

2. To conceptualise the growth of Atlantic port cities in the early modern period, by analysing early settlements, seaport structures, natural environments, economic activities, marine resource availability from a comparative geographic perspective.

3. To analyse connections and nodes of contact between different Atlantic spaces, especially the circulation of people, products and knowledge, by comparing the North and South Atlantic experiences.

4. To understand the creation of local Atlantic identities and cultures (by Europeans as well as Africans and Amerindians) and their material and immaterial heritage.

5. To expand our understanding of the rise of global capitalism in its early form (“colonial mercantilism”), by using coastal and underwater archaeological context analyses.

6. To identify and discuss the multiple maritime cultures forged through the process of construction of Atlantic Ocean cultural landscapes, including their intangible memories and heritage.

7. To contribute to the current historiography of an integrated Atlantic History and the early development of its cultural maritime heritage.

8. To gather scientific knowledge, as well as methods and techniques of research, to inform locally and to teach globally, and to create networks of scholars and stakeholders to develop and disseminate Atlantic History and its Heritage at a global scale allowing to develop career opportunities.

9. To apply digital humanities tools to data analysis and dissemination of information, and to create new digital routes of the early modern Atlantic heritage to be used by the different stakeholders.


Caderno de actividades educativas (.pdf)

Cuaderno de actividades educativas (.pdf)

Educational Activities notebook (.pdf)







Principal Investigator .  João Paulo Oliveira e Costa

Scientific Coordinator . Cristina Brito
Project Manager . Patrícia Carvalho




Exhibition14.06.2023 to 21.07.2023
Universidade Federal de Sergipe