Treasure Hunters Eye Underwater Cultural Heritage in Mexico

02 Feb 2011 11:00 AM | Anonymous

Treasure Hunters Eye Underwater Cultural Heritage in Mexico

Latin american Herald, Feb. 2, 2011

MEXICO CITY – Hundreds of sunken boats and thousands of other items that lie hidden in the ocean, rivers, lakes and cave pools and that make up part of Mexico’s cultural heritage each year are the much-desired booty of marine treasure hunters.

Pilar Luna, a pioneer of marine archaeology in Mexico, told Efe on Tuesday that there are up to 250 sunken boats registered in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean but it is estimated that there are thousands of vessels, both large and small, that sank off the country’s coasts.

In addition, some 30 areas of items have been tallied in cenotes and sunken caves where ancient civilizations like the Maya deposited bodies, personal objects and food in conducting their spiritual rituals.

The treasures of Mexico are exposed to looting by adventurers who erase the traces of the country’s forebears, said Luna, an expert with the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, who has devoted more than 30 years of work to the investigation and preservation of underwater cultural heritage.

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