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04.11.2015 - UNESCO Havana/Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Underwater archaeological exploration off Cuban beach

© Yoser Martínez, Specialist in Underwater Archaeology, OHCH. During the dive, archaeological objects, ceramic and glass materials, including wine and beer bottles from the 19th century were found. In the photo, one of the bottles.

A specialized visit to the archaeological site of Fort San Hilario, located in Santa Lucía beach, in the Cuban province of Camagüey, was organized in the framework of the First International Symposium “Archaeological Heritage, Identity and Protection”, held from 27 to 29 October in the aforementioned city in central-eastern Cuban, under the auspices of the Havana-based UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The land exploration was made from the dock of the site to the construction of Fort San Hilario, where the conservation conditions and the factors affecting them were observed and evaluated.

The exercise included a dive in the Las Anforas archaeological area, which belongs to the domestic zone of the enclave.

The exploration was made from west to east, approximately 100 metres along the coast corresponding to the Fort’s archaeological site.

During the underwater exercise a great dispersion of ceramic and glass material was observed, comprising wine and beer bottles from the 19th century, English china, fragments from oil pitchers and pharmacy bottles.

Rich marine flora and fauna was also observed in harmony with the archeological context, which gives the site landscape, scientific and historical value.

The information obtained was recorded through photographs and an audiovisual material on the elements seen on the ocean floor. In addition, the zoning of the archaeological exploration was carried out and the concentration of materials and characteristics of their dispersion was described.

Participating in the scientific exploration programme of the Fort were underwater archaeologists from the Archaeology Department of the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana (OHCH), the National Cultural Heritage Council of Cuba, the Department of Archaeology and the Direction of the Master Plan and Projects of the Office of the City Historian of Camagüey, as well as distinguished specialists of the Prehistory Department, the School of Geography and History of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and the Research Faculty of the Diving Programme of the Centre for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, in the United States.

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