Training on Advanced Recording Techniques in Underwater Archaeology
As part of the activities of the project “Capacity building, implementation actions and increase ratification schemes for the 2001 Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean”, the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean organized a training course on survey and registration techniques of the underwater cultural heritage. This course was organized with the cooperation of the National Cuban Commission for UNESCO (CNCU), the National Council for Cultural Heritage of Cuba (CNPC), the Office of the Historian of Havana (OHCH), the UNESCO Chair at the National Centre for Conservation, Restoration and Museology (CRECI-CENCREM) and the Scientific Committee of the Cuban Federation of Underwater Activities (FCAS), and aimed at creating capacities in Central America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.
Participants from Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras met in Guanabo, a small beach town East of Havana, to learn the necessary techniques to survey and registered the underwater cultural heritage in a series of practical and theoretical sessions -by renowned underwater archaeologists and naval historians from Argentina, Cuba and Spain.
Originally, it was planned to carry out these techniques in a series of daily dives into a 19th century shipwreck sunk after a mysterious explosion off the coast of Guanabo: the American steam ship “City of Alexandria”. Nevertheless, due to the climate conditions the diving sessions were carried out in the swimming-pool facilities of the course venue and in two eventual recognition dives at two historical underwater sites: An uncharted Spanish wooden corvette from the XIX century, sunk in a nearby bay, and the American steam boat “City of Alexandria”.
This training provided an opportunity to learn the necessary skills to register underwater cultural heritage in accordance with the scientific and international standards of the 2001 Convention, to the professionals working in archaeology, cultural heritage management and conservation of the region. They made a step further in acquiring the necessary archaeological qualifications to engage in conjoined projects as well as to the ratification of the 2001 Convention, and its implementation, in their respective countries.
This training was a follow-up to previous courses for Latin American participants. Previous training took place in Campeche, Mexico, 2010 and Cartagena, Spain, 2011. The financial support was provided to UNESCO by Spain.