Santo António de Taná (Mombasa, 1697)



Start . 2011

Duration . 60 months

Principal Investigator . Robin Piercy (INA)


Main Research Unit

Institute of Nautical Archaeology


CHAM — Centro de Humanidades



The frigate Santo António de Taná led a small squadron sent from Goa to the East African coast in 1697 to rescue the fortress of Jesus of Mombasa (Kenya), which was surrounded by forces of the Omani Arabs. This event had a tragic outcome, as the ship wrecked near the coast, and the Portuguese lost that strategic position.

Remains of the frigate were discovered by local divers and recognised during a campaign led by James Kirkman of the Fort Jesus Museum in 1970. Between 1976 and 1980, a joint team of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, led by Robin Piercy, and the National Museums Of Kenya, led by Hamo Sassoon, conducted excavation campaigns on the wreck of the Portuguese vessel. They identified a major part of the ship's hull, as well as over 6000 objects related to its operation, life on board and commercial activity. In the following years, cabinet missions were carried out, as well as archival and museum searches, in order to deepen the study and framing the findings. Several academic works were developed, including a proposal of the ship morphology.



The current phase of the project foresees the publication of a monograph summarizing the four decades of work on the Santo António de Taná frigate, with the participation of CHAM researchers, within the scope of this research line.







Robin Piercy  .    Coordenator

André Teixeira (CHAM)
Andreia Martins Torres
Christelle Chouzenoux (CHAM)
Inês Pinto Coelho (CHAM)
Joana Bento Torres (CHAM)
Jorge Freire (CHAM)
José António Bettencourt (CHAM)
Luís Serrão Gil (CHAM)
Patrícia Carvalho (CHAM)
Tiago Silva (CHAM)