26.03.2020 - Culture Sector

UNESCO expresses its deep regret about the passing of Dr Pilar Luna Erreguerena

UNESCO expresses its deep regret about the passing of Dr Pilar Luna Erreguerena, a well known pioneer of underwater archaeology, and a most generous and inspiring human being.  

Pilar Luna, whose work was at the origin of the now flourishing underwater archaeology in Mexico, was one of the first elected members of UNESCO’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Body (STAB), created in 2009 to assist States Parties in the in the implementation of the 2001 Convention. She was the driving force behind the creation of the Division of Underwater Archaeology at the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) which gained wide recognition.  

Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO, regretted deeply her passing and noted that “PilarLuna was an outstanding underwater archaeologist and supporter of UNESCO’s work in the field of underwater cultural heritage protection.  She inspired the younger generation of underwater cultural heritage specialists in Latin America.” 

“I'm very saddened by this terrible news,” said Michel L’Hour, current member of UNESCO 2001 Convention’s STAB and Director of the French Department of Underwater Archaeology. “She is among the archaeologists who have contributed the most to the recognition of underwater archaeology as a science.” Dr Luna’s last important research project, the Hoyo Negro research, which focused on prehistoric human bones and animal fossils in a Mexican Cenote cave, was one of the most exciting investigations of its kind. It demonstrated how important the research of underwater cultural heritage is for understanding the development of humanity. 

Toufik Hamoum, President of the STAB added: “the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body and the wider scientific community pay tribute to her.  Thanks to her mandate as a STAB member, and her scientific contribution and experience, the 2001 Convention has gained important credibility. ”

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