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Brazilian archaeologist picks ECU for study site

(Mar. 24, 1995)   —   Luiz Cunha knows what it is like to be different. In Brazil, he is the only underwater archaeologist in the entire country. At East Carolina University, where he studies, he is one of a rare breed of visiting scholars who hold prestigious Fulbright awards.
A native of Rio de Janeiro, Cunha arrived in January to study with ECU’s program in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology. He said he selected ECU because of its reputation in nautical archaeology.
His other interests include the preservation of artifacts, shipbuilding and identifying items found on old shipwrecks.
In his work in Brazil, Cunha directs the conservation laboratory for the Naval Oceanographic Museum. He also assists the Brazilian Navy in charting and protecting shipwreck sites.
But, even with the backing of the Navy and the support of a national museum, the job is a challenging one. The country has four-and-a-half thousand miles of shoreline and Cunha said he is the only underwater archaeologist in Brazil.
“There is so much to do,” he said.
When he returns to Brazil, later this year, he plans to improve the way his laboratory handles nautical artifacts and expects to develop an archaeology training program for Brazilian divers. He also said he hopes to involve ECU in his country’s shipwreck research.
Cunha is the second Fulbright Scholar associated with the ECU program in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology. In 1993, Edward Prados, a graduate student, received a Fulbright award to study shipwrecks sites in Yemen.