Mensun Bound
Born (1953-02-04) 4 February 1953 (age 71)
Academic background
Alma materFairleigh Dickinson University
Rutgers University
Academic work
DisciplineUnderwater archaeology
InstitutionsOxford University

Mensun Bound (born 4 February 1953) is a British maritime archaeologist born in Stanley, Falkland Islands. He is best known as director of exploration for two expeditions to the Weddell Sea which led to the rediscovery of the Endurance,[1] in which Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men sailed for the Antarctic on the 1914–1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The ship sank after being crushed by the ice on 21 November 1915. It was rediscovered by the Endurance22 expedition on 5 March 2022.[1]

He is also known for directing the excavation of an Etruscan 6th-century BC shipwreck off Giglio Island, Italy,[2] the oldest known shipwreck of the Archaic era, and the Hoi An Cargo which revolutionized the understanding of Ming-Vietnamese porcelain from Vietnam's art-historical Golden Age.[3][4]

In 2014–15, Bound led a search for the Imperial German East Asia Squadron, sunk during the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914, and since then in AUV and ROV surveys in depths up to 6,000 m. He eventually located the squadron's flagship, SMS Scharnhorst, in April 2019, 105 years after her sinking.[5]

Discovery Channel has called Bound "the Indiana Jones of the Deep".[4]

Early life and education

Bound was born on 4 February 1953 in Stanley, Falkland Islands. He is a fifth-generation Islander whose great-great-grandfather, James Biggs, arrived with the first colonists to Port Louis on the brig Hebe in January 1842. His great-grandfather, William Biggs, was the first to raise the Union Jack when the settlement was moved to Jackson's Harbour (now Port Stanley) in 1843–44.[6][7] Bound's early education was in the Falkland Islands and Montevideo, Uruguay. After secondary school, he worked at sea on the steam ship Darwin. In 1972, he received a scholarship from the Leopold Schepp Foundation to attend Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, from where he graduated summa cum laude in ancient history. Whilst undertaking a further degree in Classical art and archaeology at Rutgers University, also in New Jersey, he was a research assistant in Greek pottery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In 1976 he was awarded a Commonwealth scholarship to Lincoln College, Oxford University, to study classical archaeology. In 1985, he was given a Junior Research Fellowship at St Catherine's College, Oxford University. At the same time, under the Chairmanship of Alan Bullock, he was appointed Director of Oxford University MARE,[3] the first academic maritime archaeological unit in England. In 1994, he became the Triton Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at St. Peter's College, Oxford. He retired from academic life in 2013 to pursue his interest in deep-ocean archaeology.

Early archaeological experience

Bound's student experience as an archaeologist was on land, where he worked on Roman villa sites outside Rome[8] and various sites in the English Midlands. Bound's underwater archaeological career began in 1979 when he worked for George Bass of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology in Texas on sites off the coast of Turkey. This was followed by the Madrague de Giens shipwreck off the South of France and the Mary Rose in England.[9]

Principal excavations and surveys


Bound has authored or edited over 100 articles and several books on archaeology. In October 2022, Bound's account of the two expeditions to the Weddell Sea which led to the rediscovery of Shackleton's Endurance was published under the title The Ship Beneath the Ice by Pan Macmillan.[30] A five-star review of the book by Simon Griffith of The Mail on Sunday[31] said the "narrative cracks along with the pace of a well-crafted thriller" while Robert Crampton in The Times called it "gratifyingly long on logistical detail, correspondingly short on flights of fancy".[32] Bound's other books include Excavating Ships of War (ed.),[33] Lost Ships (Simon & Schuster),[34] The Archaeology of Ships of War,[35] Archeologia Sottomarina alle Isole Eolie,[36] (Pungitopo) and A Ship Cast Away about Alderney with Jason Monaghan.[37] Books about Bound's work include Dragon Seaby F. Pope (Penguin Books)[3] on the South China Sea excavation; Tarquin's Ship(Souvenir Press) byA McKee,[38] on the Giglio ship excavation. Also, children's book The Search for the Oldest Shipwrecks in the World by D. Thornton tells the story of the Giglio ship.[39]

Other activities and awards

Bound is a trustee of the Falkland Islands Foundation, the World Ship Trust, the Council of the Nautical Archaeology Society, the Alderney Maritime Trust, the Friends of the Falklands Museum and the Falkland Islands Maritime Heritage Trust.

He has organised four international conferences on maritime archaeology (two-day conference at the National Maritime Museum on 'The Archaeology of Ships of War';[35] two day conference on 'Fresh Water Archaeology', Univ. of Bangor; 'Maritime Archaeology in Italy', Inst. Archaeology, London; 'Metals from the Sea', Oxford). He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club, New York.

He has lectured widely on maritime archaeology for the British Council, and a range of museums, universities, learned societies, archaeological organisations and cruise ships. Has edited a book series, held Visiting Fellowships (University of North Wales), conducted coursework and been a doctoral examiner. His awards include 'Diver of the Year, Italy' 1985, and in 1992 he received the Colin McLeod medallion from the British Sub Aqua Club for 'Furthering international co-operation in diving'.[40]


Bound's work has been the focus of many documentaries in England, Italy and the US, including an award-winning, four-part series entitled Lost Ships by the Discovery Channel, which covered the Agamemnon, the Hoi An wreck, the Graf Spee and the Mahdia ship. The BBC has made several documentaries on Bound's work including Queen Elizabeth's Lost Guns, about the recovery, replication and test-firing of an Elizabethan iron cannon from the Alderney wreck.[27] Lost Ships - The Hunt for the Kaiser's Superfleet, produced by TVT Productions for Smithsonian Channel, covers Bound's search for the lost fleet from the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914.[41]


  1. ^ a b BBC News, 9.3.22
  2. ^ "Mensun Bound - Etruscan Shipwreck & Flute Presentation - Isola del Giglio". YouTube.
  3. ^ a b c d e Pope, Frank (2007). Dragon Sea. Penguin. ISBN 9780718150013.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet the Excavation Director". BBC. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b "German WWI wreck Scharnhorst discovered off Falklands". BBC News. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  6. ^ Strange, Ian J (26 January 1984). The Falkland Islands. David & Charles. ISBN 978-0715385319.
  7. ^ Biggs, James (1 June 2008). The Dictionary of Falklands Biography. David Tatham. ISBN 978-0955898501.
  8. ^ "The Via Gabina Villas". Rice University. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b Dingemans, Timothy G. "Oxford's Nautical Archaeology Team: The First Ten Years of MARE". No. Spring 1991. Sea History. pp. 22–24. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  10. ^ Bound, M.; Vallintine, R. (1983). "A wreck of possible Etruscan origin off Giglio Island". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 12 (2): 113–122. Bibcode:1983IJNAr..12..113B. doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.1983.tb00120.x. ISSN 1095-9270.
  11. ^ "Mensun Bound - Etruscan Shipwreck & Flute Presentation - Isola del Giglio". YouTube.
  12. ^ Nardò, Livio. "Il commercio etrusco arcaico nel Tirreno Settentrionale: l'evidenza archeologica dei relitti navali, dall'Isola del Giglio alla Francia Meridionale". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Permanent Exhibitions of the Spanish Fortress: Submerged Memories and Shipwrights". Musei di Maremma. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  14. ^ Bound, Mensun (2001). "Aspects of the Hoi An Wreck: Dishes, bottles, Statuettes and Chronology". Taoci, Revue Annuelle de la Société Française d'Étude de la Céramique Orientale, Paris: 95–103.
  15. ^ Fay, Kim. "Hoi An Hoard, Part One - The Excavation". Things Asian. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  16. ^ "The end of the Graf Spee". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  17. ^ Rocha, Jan (23 January 2004). "Salvage team in three-year plan to raise the Graf Spee". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Nazi symbol recovered from WW2 warship". Divernet. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Graf Spee rangefinder recovered". Mercopress. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  20. ^ "German Battleship Last Broadside Shipwreck - Mensun Bound". YouTube. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021.
  21. ^ "Uruguay court orders government to sell Nazi bronze eagle from battleship". The Guardian. Associated Press. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Ghost of Trafalgar Shipwreck with Mensun Bound". YouTube. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Mítico cañón en Punta del Este". El Pais. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Galley of the Gods Shipwreck - with Mensun Bound". YouTube. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021.
  25. ^ "The Oxford Roman Economy Project: Mahdia". The Oxford Roman Economy Project. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  26. ^ Bound, Mensun (1989). "The Dattilo wreck (Panarea, Aeolian Islands): first season report". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 18 (3): 203–219. Bibcode:1989IJNAr..18..203B. doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.1989.tb00197.x. ISSN 1095-9270.
  27. ^ a b "BBC Two - Timewatch, 2008-2009, Queen Elizabeth's Lost Guns". BBC.
  28. ^ Amos, Jonathan (14 February 2019). "Search for Shackleton's lost Endurance ship called off". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  29. ^ Amos, Jonathan (9 March 2022). "Endurance: Shackleton's lost ship is found in Antarctic". BBC News. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  30. ^ Bound, Mensun (2022). Ship beneath the ice : the discovery of Shackleton's Endurance. London. ISBN 978-1-0350-0841-4. OCLC 1346306111.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  31. ^ Griffith, Simon (13 November 2022). "An epic feat of Endurance under the ice". The Mail on Sunday.
  32. ^ Crampton, Robert (22 October 2022). "The Times". Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  33. ^ "Excavating Ships of War [International Maritime Archaeology series no.2] by Bound, Mensun [editor]: (1998) | McLaren Books Ltd., ABA(associate), PBFA".
  34. ^ "9780684852515: Lost Ships - AbeBooks - Bound, Mensun: 0684852519".
  35. ^ a b "9780904614527: Archaeology of Ships of War: International Conference : Selected Papers (International Maritime Archaeology S.) - AbeBooks: 0904614522".
  36. ^ Bound, Mensun (August 1992). Archeologia sottomarina alle isole Eolie - Mensun Bound - 2 reviews - Pungitopo - Other - Italiano - Anobii. Pungitopo. ISBN 9788885328396.
  37. ^ Bound, Mensun (1 October 2001). A Ship Cast Away about Alderney. Alderney. ISBN 978-0954159504.
  38. ^ McKee, Alexander (24 October 1985). Tarquin's Ship. Souvenir Books. ISBN 978-0285626522.
  39. ^ Thornton, David (1 December 1987). The Search for the Oldest Shipwrecks in the World. D.& J.Thornton. ISBN 978-0907339281.
  40. ^ "Colin McLeod Jubilee Trust Award". British Sub Aqua Club. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  41. ^ Lost Ships: The Hunt for the Kaiser's Superfleet (Television production). TVT Productions..