The Gambia sets its course for the protection of its underwater cultural heritage
From January 10 to 25, three other Gambian professionals have benefitted from a first underwater archaeology training on the basics for the protection of underwater heritage. Two of them came from the Gambian National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and two from The Gambia Navy, key entities for the protection of underwater cultural goods.
The training has taken place in Dakar (Senegal), with the lead of the Gambian National Commission for UNESCO and the NCAC, and counting on the support of UNESCO and the Direction du patrimoine Culturel (DPC) of Senegal. It shows the importance of South-South collaboration, especially within Senegal and Gambia, two countries with a shared maritime history, and which are the owners of a rich underwater cultural heritage.
The decision to hold this project with Senegal is justified upon its experience and advancements in the management of this lesser-known heritage. The training has been accomplished with the involvement of researchers in underwater archeology from Cheikh Anta Diop University leaded by Moussa WELE and instructors from the Oceanium diving center (Dakar). It has taken place in various sites of Dakar and Gorée.
This training activity is part of the project ‘Sensitization and Capacity Building on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in The Gambia’, the very first of its kind in the country. It aims not only at building capacities for the preservation of underwater cultural heritage, but also to raise awareness on the value of underwater heritage and the importance of preserving it through the ratification of the 2001 UNESCO Convention.
This initiative is aligned with the objectives of the UNESCO Dakar Office for the protection of the submerged cultural heritage of the Atlantic coast of Africa.