The Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project is a collaborative excavation, survey, and heritage management initiative focusing on the maritime landscape and seaborne communication off the southeast coast of Sicily, Italy. The concentration of accessible sites and their location at the intersection of the eastern and western Mediterranean facilitates inquiry into long-term structures of regional and interregional maritime exchange from the early Roman era (3rd/2nd c. BC) through Late Antiquity (6th/7th c. AD). The first field seasons undertake the excavation of the so-called Marzamemi “church wreck”, which sank while carrying prefabricated architectural elements for the construction of an early Byzantine church alongside other cargo from the northern Aegean during the 6th c. AD. This ship’s cargo, personal items, and hull remains may offer unique insights into the relationship between state-driven and independent commerce as well as the ambitious reconstruction program integral to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian’s projection of imperial ideology across his realm. Equally important to this research, the project situates fieldwork within a broader dialog on responsible collaborative natural and cultural heritage practices. We aim to utilize community archaeology and public outreach to implement site management alongside local initiatives for environmentally sustainable tourism and economic development.