UNESCO Foundation Course on Underwater Cultural Heritage at Port Royal, Jamaica (5-30 November 2012)
The Jamaican city of Port Royal hosted from 5 to 30 November 2012 the UNESCO Regional Capacity Building Program: "Safeguarding the Underwater Cultural Heritage of the Caribbean", one of the activities foreseen in the Spanish Funded 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".
This activity was jointly organized by UNESCO Offices in Havana and Kingston, the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust with the support of the Jamaican National Commission for UNESCO. The purpose of the course was to support the efforts by Caribbean Member States to ratify and implement the 2001 Convention, as well as to strengthen regional capacities in the protection and management of the underwater cultural heritage.
Specialists from Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago participated in this training course.
The curriculum of this programme was developed by expert trainers and included topics such as: the 2001 Convention and its Annex, introduction to underwater archaeology, underwater archaeological resource protection and management, site significance assessment, protective legislation, survey and registration techniques for inventory, in situ protection and preservation, 3D site survey, shipbuilding techniques and terminology, ceramics, conservation and finds handling, ethnographic boat recording, geographical information systems (GIS) in underwater archaeology, data management, museology, risk mitigation, amongst others.
The practical lessons of the course were developed in the remains of the sunken city of Port Royal, one of the most unique underwater cultural heritage sites of the whole world. The participants registered and assessed the archaeological site, developping useful and realistic management plans.