KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Archaeologists said Tuesday that they’ll ask the United Nations’ cultural agency to bestow world heritage status on Port Royal, the mostly submerged remains of a historic Jamaican port known as the “wickedest city on Earth” more than three centuries ago.
Receiving the designation from UNESCO would place Port Royal in the company of global marvels such as Cambodia’s Angkor temple complex and India’s Taj Mahal.
The sunken 17th century city was once a bustling place where buccaneers including Henry Morgan docked in search of rum, women and boat repairs.
In recent days, international consultants have conducted painstaking surveys to mark the old city’s land and sea boundaries to apply for the world heritage designation by June 2014, said Dorrick Gray, a technical director with the Jamaican National Heritage Trust, a government agency responsible for preserving and developing the island’s cultural spots. Read more.
Kingston owes its earliest developments to a far more modest watercourse than the Thames, according to the town’s archaeologists who want to set the record straight.
Thanks to a £28,400 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Kingston Upon Thames Archaeological Society (Kutas) will be excavating the site to reveal the Hogsmill’s influence on the town over the centuries.
The river, which stretches six miles from its source in Ewell, is now largely found in conduits and often disappears underground, but investigations show its original channels played an important role in determining the shape of human settlement in the Middle Ages. Read more.
The Caribbean Meeting on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage takes place on 10 and 11 June 2011 in Kingston. During the Meeting participants will present and discuss the importance and pertinence of the 2001 Convention with the help of legal and archaeological experts. The Meeting is essential to promote ratification and create awareness of the existence of this heritage and of the urgent need to create legal frameworks for its protection. This Meeting is jointly organized by the UNESCO Offices in Havana and Kingston, the Jamaican National Commission and with the support of the Secretariat of the 2001 Convention.
In spite of its vast underwater cultural heritage due to its maritime history, the majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries lack experts and national systems for its safeguarding. Thanks to the diving industry and technical developments in devices for detection and exploration of the seabed, this heritage, that was for centuries protected by its own environment, is now easily accessible to sport divers, fishermen and treasure hunting companies. This heritage runs the risk of disappearing due to irresponsible exploitation, lack of legal protective systems and of human resources capacitated in this particular field of archaeology, conservation and heritage management. The lack of resources available in the countries concerned, the failure to implement efficient cultural policies due to limited capacities is increasing the risk of this heritage to disappear. Read more.