Goddio received degrees in mathematics and statistics from the École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique in Paris. He was employed as an advisor to national and international organizations and various governments for over 15 years.
In the early 1980s he decided to focus on underwater archaeology. In 1987 he founded the Institut Européen d'archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM) in Paris.
In his work in detecting and recovering ancient shipwrecks and searching for the remains of sunken cities, Goddio developed a systematic approach to underwater archaeology. He has found or excavated over a dozen sunken ships of historic importance, which had been resting on the ocean bed for hundreds of years. Among them are junks dating from the 11th to the 15th century, the Spanish galleon San Diego and San José (1694), Napoleon Bonaparte's flagship Orient and two East Indiamen: Griffin (1761) and Royal Captain, lost in 1773.
Goddio adheres to strict archaeological standards during the exploration and excavation phases, and closely cooperates with national and local authorities, leading archaeological experts and institutions. In 2003, in co-operation with Oxford University, he helped to found the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology. In 2009 he was appointed a Senior Visiting Lecturer in the School of Archaeology at Oxford University. In the same year he received the French National Order of the Legion of Honour (Légion d´Honneur).
Goddio's research projects have been financed by the Hilti Foundation since 1996. He has written several books and scientific articles, reporting on research projects and excavations. Several TV documentaries have also been produced and aired throughout the world. In addition, various exhibitions have presented the finds and made them accessible to a wide audience. The discovery of a cup inscribed with a reference (in Greek) to "Christ", dating from the second century C.E., received international publicity.1986–1988: Griffin (1761) of the British East India Company
1987–1990: Spanish galleon San José (1694)
1990–1994: Spanish galleon San Diego (1600)
1996–2003: Sunken royal quarters of Alexandria’s eastern harbor, Egypt
1997: Royal Captain of the British East India Company
1997: Junk of the Lena shoal with ceramics of the Ming dynasty
1998–1999: Napoleon’s lost fleet from the battle against Admiral Nelson in Aboukir Bay in 1798 and his flagship Orient
2000–2003: the sunken cities of Thônis–Heracleion and Canopus in Aboukir Bay, Egypt
2002 Junk Santa Cruz with over 10,000 pieces of 15th century porcelain
2003 French slave ship Adelaide, lost in 1714 off the coast of Cuba
2004 – to present: researches and excavations of Egypt’s coast in the Bay of Aboukir on the sites of Eastern Canopus and Heracleion–Thônis, finalisation of the topography of the sites, continuating excavation in Alexandria's Eastern Harbour
Objects found during excavations directed by Goddio have enriched the national collection of countries where the excavations took place: the National Museum of the Philippines, the Museum of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina National Museum of Alexandria. In accordance with the antiquities authority in the Philippines, objects from Goddio’s excavations were donated to the Museo Naval de Madrid, Guimet Museum (Musée des arts asiatiques-Guimet, France) and the Maritime Museum in Port Louis.
Goddio has also created travelling exhibitions to bring his discoveries to wide audiences:
"Osiris. Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries': The exhibition presents artefacts drawn largely from the last seven years of underwater excavations at the ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus off the coast of Egypt by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), directed by Franck Goddio in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities and supported by the Hilti Foundation. The selection is supplemented by 40 artefacts from museums in Cairo and Alexandria. Displayed in Paris at the institut du monde arabe, Sept 2015 – March 2016, in London at the British Museum in a slightly different version under the title “Sunken cities. Egypt’s lost worlds” May – Nov 2016, and in Zurich at the Museum Rietberg, Feb – July 2017.
Treasures of the San Diego: An exhibition of the Spanish galleon, illustrating the work of the team: archivists, engineers, divers, archaeologists, scientists, illustrators, photographers and cameramen: Paris (September 1994 – January 1995), Madrid (May – October 1995), New York (November 1996 – February 1997), Berlin (June – Oct. 1997), Manille (February – April 1998).
Egypt’s Sunken Treasures: A selection of some 500 artifacts unearthed during the excavations in Aboukir Bay and the port of Alexandria. Presented in Berlin (April – September 2006), Paris (December 2006 – March 2007), Bonn (April 2007 – January 2008), Madrid (April – December 2008), Turin (February – May 2009) and Yokohama (June – September 2009).
Cleopatra, The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt A selection of 146 artefacts from Egypt's sunken treasures, displayed in the United States from 2010 to 2013, as part of the larger exhibition "Cleopatra,The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt" at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, at the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Public Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Osiris, Mystères engloutis d'Égypte: More than 290 pieces, mostly from the recent underwater excavations of IEASM directed by Franck Goddio in Aboukir Bay, were presented from September 7, 2015 to March 6, 2017 at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Some forty masterpieces from the museums of Cairo and Alexandria completed them - rare pieces, never seen before in France, some of which are coming out of Egypt for the first time.
Sunken cities, Egypt's lost worlds: The exhibition Osiris, Mystères engloutis d'Égypte was presented at the British Museum from May 19 to November 27, 2007. The catalog of the exhibition was selected by Mary Beard for the list of [ books of the year of the literary supplement of the Times (TLS).Swallowed by the Sea: Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Lost City3, BBC, UK, 2014
Egypt’s Sunken City – A Legend is Revealed", Arte/MDR, 2013
Treasures of The San Diego, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg 2007
Franck Goddio – In Search Of Sunken Treasures, Spiegel TV, 2006
Lost Temple To The Gods, Discovery Channel, 2003
Sunken Cities, Ancient Earthquakes, Discovery Channel, 2001
Treasures Of The Royal Captain, Discovery Channel, 2000
Napoleon’s Fleet, Discovery Channel, 1999
Cleopatra’s Palace – In Search Of A Legend, Discovery Channel, 1999