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James Sinclair,

Chief Archaeologist


In 1977, when a young James Sinclair was spending bitterly cold winters studying anthropology at Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire, a maritime archaeology field school lured him to sunny Key West. Learning under Duncan Matthewson, an archaeologist working with Mel Fisher as he pursued the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, Sinclair warmed not only to the subject matter but also to the climate and began to make plans to spend his professional career recording and interpreting submerged artifacts and the shipwrecks they came from. After graduation in 1980, he returned to Key West and began what has been a 35-year immersion into sunken history.


Since then Sinclair has been involved in numerous shipwreck recovery projects. He has worked for numerous recovery firms and participated in many historic recovery events. He participated in the raising of the Santa Margarita, 1622, hull structure in 1981. Sinclair served as co-director of the archaeological excavation of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, 1622, and Chief Conservator for Treasure Salvors Inc. Key West, Florida, from 1985 to 1990. He held the role of Chief Archaeologist of the Titanic 2000 Expedition, which involved visiting the site in an ROV. He was also project and consulting archeologist with the 1715 Fleet and Odyssey Marine USS Central American steamship excavation.


Sinclair earned his MA in Maritime Historic Archaeology from Union Institute and University and Vermont College in 2002. His published works include “Titanic 2000 Final Field Report,” published by RMS Titanic 2010; “The Coconut Wreck,” published in the proceedings of the 2002 conference on Deep Sea Archaeology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); "Archaeology of the Titanic," published in Explorers Club Journal, Fall 2001; "Just a Coin or Two, thoughts on the conservation of the silver coinage of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha,1622," which appeared in Institute of Marine Archaeological Conservation Digest, 2000; and Preliminary Archaeological Report, RMS Titanic, RMS Titanic Web Site and IMAC Digest; among others.


Sinclair actively presents lectures and makes public presentations. His vast knowledge and experience running conservation labs make him a valuable asset to Gemini.  

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