National seminar on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in El Salvador
The UNESCO Cluster Office in San Jose is organizing a national seminar in El Salvador on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, with the support of the Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage. The seminar has the objective of the adoption of a national action plan regarding the protection at national level of this heritage.
The seminar will take place on February 6 at the Spanish Cultural Centre, in San Salvador, for national authorities in charge of the ratification and the implementation of the 2001 Convention, archaeologists and representatives of the Salvadorian touristic sector. The main action is to explain the Convention and to show the benefits of its implementation in other countries in Central America.
UNESCO promotes the conservation, the study and the protection of the underwater cultural heritage of humanity. Its principal tool to do so is the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. This legal framework establishes measures to prevent looting, illegal trafficking and the commercial exploitation of the Underwater Heritage; as well as international scientific standards for activities concerning underwater archaeological remains.
This heritage is especially rich in the Central American waters. It is the testimony of the firsts contacts between Europe and the Americas. In the same way, this heritage is primordial to the understanding of the prehispanic history, through which the politics, exchanges and economies of the regional cultures principally practiced by maritime ways.
For years, this heritage, precious to the understanding of the regional history and a founding element to the regional national and cultural identities, has been destroyed and threatened by the practice of treasure hunt, commercial exploitation and looting. These threats, even though reduced thanks to the efforts of different social, academic and political actors engaged for the saving of the heritage, are still facing a lack of legislative and regional framework; particularly in international waters.
Therefore, the signature and implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage is necessary, insofar that it establishes instructions not only for the protection in the framework of States´ national jurisdiction, but goes further than the heritage location.
In the framework of the National seminar on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in El Salvador, the publication “Patrimonio Cultural Marítimo de El Salvador. Registro de Pecios” (Maritime Cultural Heritage in El Salvador. Wrecked ships registry) will be presented on February 5th at the Museo Nacional de Antropología Dr. David J. Guzmán, San Salvador.