UNESCO Foundation Course on Underwater Archaeology for the Caribbean

Maritime Heritage
Erfgoed » Archeologie
Project start 
17 november 2014
Project end 
13 december 2014
Originally the foundation course had been developed for the Asian – Pacific region (2009-2012). The first training in the Caribbean took place in Jamaica in 2012. This formed the basis for the 2014 training in St. Eustatius.

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, the University of Leiden, NEXUS, ICUCH and UNESCO have organised a second Foundation Course on Underwater Archaeology for the Caribbean States in St. Eustatius and Saba. The first edition was organised by UNESCO and the RCE in 2012 in Port Royal Jamaica. The St. Eustatius international course consisted of lectures, hands-on exercises and fieldwork related to underwater archaeology. The focus of attention was on underwater archaeology, underwater surveying, guidelines and best practices regarding research into and the management of underwater cultural heritage, as well as the UNESCO convention on the protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The lectures were based on the Training manual for the UNESCO foundation course on the protection and management of underwater cultural heritage in Asia and the Pacific.

Sixteen students from the Netherlands, St. Eustatius, Saba Bonaire, Curacao, Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Belize, South Africa and Surinam participated in the course. The organisers and trainers were Martijn Manders of the Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) and the University Leiden and Chris Underwood of PROAS Argentina and the Nautical Archaeological Society (NAS). This team of trainers was strengthened by Tatiana Villegas from UNESCO Haiti, Ryan Espersen and Ruud Stelten PhDs from the University of Leiden and Hans van Tilburg, maritime archaeologist from Hawaii, US.

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) has given financial support and brought their knowledge and experience to this project to build a strong foundation for knowledge exchange, research, policy, cooperation and education regarding underwater and maritime cultural heritage research and protection. The RCE is not only responsible for UCH management in its own waters, but also strongly involved in that of VOC, WIC and admiralty shipwrecks all over the world. Therefore, the focus of the Maritime’s programme is on cooperation, sharing of knowledge and capacity building in underwater cultural heritage with these countries in order to improve the overall global management and research in underwater and maritime archaeology and cultural heritage management.

Objectives - Create capacity building for underwater cultural heritage on St. Eustatius for the deployment and sound management in Dutch Waters. - Capacity building in the Caribbean region - Capacity building in UCH management all over the world - Creating awareness to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Results - Sixteen students from 12 different countries and islands have passed the course. -The archaeological research underwater revealed new information on the sites. - All information, including management plans were handed over to SECAR. The information can be used to manage the underwater cultural heritage on St. Eustatius.
Contact person 
Jean-Paul Corten
Partner country(ies)  
South Africa
United States