“Archaeological” and “secret” zone for Spain and the US

“Archaeological” and “secret” zone for Spain and the US
“Archaeological” and “secret” zone for Spain and the US

Yesterday, Wednesday, Colombia began the research project for the discovery of the San José Galleon. A plan that will have six steps within a phase that is supposed to be “exploratory and does not contemplate interventions”, despite the fact that there is an ongoing investigation into former president Juan Manuel Santos for “looting” of the treasure and the recognition of the galleon as a “ship of State” Spanish.

The general director of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (Icanh), Alhena Caicedo, explained during the presentation of the project that the Government declared as ‘Protected Archaeological Area of ​​the Nation‘ the area where the galleon is, found in 2015 at a depth of more than 600 meters, to begin the investigation.

“Only archaeological sites are declared as such whose uniqueness, representativeness and the level of state of conservation in which they are found are important to guarantee the conditions of memory and identity for what heritage means,” said the official.

For this reason, he added: “An archaeological management plan will allow us to research that is developed meets all standards”.

Its declaration as an archaeological zone “guarantees the protection of heritage through its long-term preservation and the development of research, conservation and valuation activities”The Minister of Culture of Colombia, Juan David Correa, said in a statement.

“An archaeological wreck is delimited (…) It begins to be protected as such, not as a treasure. “This is not a treasure, we do not give it that treatment.”Correa told reporters.

The Government indicated that this entire process is in an “early” phase and no archaeological work is planned. The next steps in the process will depend on the results obtained in this stage.

All this work called ‘Towards the heart of the San José galleon’As Correa revealed, it is a “gear, an inter-institutional alliance” between his portfolio, the Defense Ministry and the Navy, which made the ARC Simón Bolívar and ARC Caribe ships available for the investigation.

Secret of the location of the wreck

Although Correa has made it clear that Colombia’s interest in this extraction only has “research” intentions, he did not close the idea that the Latin American country venture into upcoming expeditions towards the treasure that everyone wants to have, in addition, has not revealed the location of the wreck due to “international litigation”, referring to Spain and the treasure hunting company Search Armada that claims the rights to the discovery of the wreck.

“The only one that The location of the wreck will remain a secret. We have to maintain confidentiality because this is the subject of international litigation (…) Here there are particular interests that continue to haunt this story,” he added.

The six steps of Colombian exploration

The Colombian government, in accordance with the technical table made up of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History and the Colombian Navy and the General Maritime Directorate, has established the six steps that the characterization phase of the Galeón San José will take.

First of all, it They will generate images of the site to make a diagnosis “non-intrusive” of the area and remote sensors will be used. Subsequently, a image registration collected to build an inventory of archaeological evidence, which will allow a classification of the materials and their origin.

The third step of the investigation will be conservation prediagnosis, based on the visual registration and processing of the images in a geographic information system, which will establish a starting point for the level of deterioration of the identified elements. Following these procedures, an underwater research vessel will be used with dynamic positioning and underwater acoustic positioning technologies, and a remote operation vehicle, equipped with various sensors and tools, capable of descending to the depth of the deposit.

Finally, will disseminate and disseminate the project processes, which include scientific production through articles and participation in academic and research events, and initiatives aimed at the entire society to promote the social appropriation of the Submerged Cultural Heritage; and finally it will identify, characterize and evaluate the risks, threats and vulnerabilities, both natural and anthropogenic, that may affect the archaeological context.

They investigate Santos for “looting”

Colombia’s decision appears in the middle of an ongoing investigation Juan Manuel Santospresident of Colombia in the period 2010-2018, after a complaint filed against him in 2021 by the historian Francisco Hernando Muñoz for the alleged “intrusion and looting” of the treasure of 20,000 million in gold coins.

The Colombian Government, which declared the San José “an asset of submerged cultural interest”, does not rule out collaboration with Spain to treat the wreck as shared heritage, despite the fact that our country has not expressed itself on the matter and maintains the position of considering that It is a “ship of state.” “As long as a State does not expressly abandon its underwater public heritage, it will continue to be its owner,” the Spanish lawyer explained to the BBC. Carlos Pérez Vaquero pointed out.

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