15.10.2013 - UNESCO Office in Santiago

Underwater cultural heritage: Port of Valparaiso exhibition

“Sea and the Memory of the Port” is the name of an exhibition on underwater cultural heritage (UCH), which highlights the importance of the Port of Valparaiso along the western coast of South America during the 19th century. The exhibition will be open until 31 October and is located at the Valparaiso headquarters of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Plaza Sotomayor 233).

The proposal includes the inverted hull of a boat and uses pictures, maps, illustrations and objects recovered from the sea floor to show what has been called “heritage below sea level”. The exhibition includes the photographic series entitled “Submerge yourself in UNESCO history”, based on the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001), which shows emblematic UCH sites around the world.

The underwater archaeological projects presented in this exhibition were developed at three particular sites: The Infatigable (1855), a Chilean Navy ship that was primarily responsible for territorial integration; the Tax or Customs Pier, built between 1873 and 1883, which was the first important port construction in Valparaiso; and a shipwreck known as “Las Locitas”, located in the Bajo del Buey sector, across from Carvallo Beach. A recent study found that the remains belonged to the German boat Postdam which was shipwrecked on 18 January 1891 during the Civil War. The display includes weapons, clothing, kitchen items (containers and dishware), navigation instruments and personal items.

Tatiana Villegas, Programme S<a name="_GoBack"></a>pecialist for the Regional Bureau of Culture for Latin America and the Caribbean, came to Chile on 14 October 2013 to give a talk on underwater heritage and the scope of the UNESCO convention on the importance of protecting this heritage and the benefits reported to the communities. Villegas also met with Atilio Pizarro, Director (a.i.) of the UNESCO Regional Bureau of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) and with Victoria Uranga, Coordinator of the Knowledge Management section of the same office, in order to strengthen collaboration.

From 16-17 October 2013, UNESCO and the Peruvian Ministry of Culture will hold an upper-level regional ministerial meeting to study current issues regarding the protection and investigation of underwater heritage, as well as to evaluate the potential for development, education and tourism.

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