For over 30 years, submerged archaeology in Mexico has developed and consolidated in different areas from the formation of specialists to the use of advanced technology; research has focused in diverse themes as well, from the study of first Yucatan Peninsula inhabitants more than 10,000 years ago, to the shipwrecks of the last 5 centuries.
Challenges and achievements have been captured in a series of documentaries that show the first experiences at the Media Luna Spring, in San Luis Potosi, with rudimentary equipment in the 1980s decade, to recent work with remote detection systems in Mexico Gulf.
The season of 9 documentaries includes the diversity of projects developed by the Underwater Archaeology Direction of the National Institute of Anthropology and History
(INAH), and will be projected from July 5th to 9th 2010 at the National Museum of Anthropology MNA) from 19:00 to 21:00 hours.
The passion for studying and preserving submerged cultural heritage and discover the stories of these archaeological sites has propelled the team directed by archaeologist Pilar Luna Erreguerena, sub director of Underwater Archaeology.
For archaeologist Helena Barba Meinecke and the biochemistry and water resources engineer Flor de Maria Curiel, both part of the team, submerged archaeologists are like detectives of the depths, exploring tranquil sea water and profound flooded caves as well.
Regarding the sea, we can make as much planning as we like, but it is so unpredictable that we must keep alert all the time. Training is constant and intense, because this activity is more intense than normal archaeology, they commented.
In some marine projects is necessary the use of advanced technology to detect vestiges in depths that divers cannot reach. One of them is New Spain Fleet, 1630-1631, one of the documentaries that will be projected in Monday 5th 2010.
Technological advances are noticed as well in the diving and filming devices used along 3 decades. In 1981 the Manantial de la Media Luna documentary was shot with a movie camera locked into an acrylic box.
Currently it is possible to do submerged archaeology in almost any ambient, like the lagoons at Nevado de Toluca crater, where dry suits are used to be protected of the cold; or in flooded caves and cenotes in Yucatan, where archaeologists and speleologists receive special training and equipment.
Documentaries to be projected in MNA will show why Mexico is at the forefront of this discipline in Latin America, and why Mexico acknowledged as a country that research and protect its submerged cultural heritage.
Admission to the season is free and the program is:
Tuesday 6 July: Historias sumergidas de Veracruz and La Quebrada
Wednesday 7 July: Bajo el mar de Campeche and Misterios de Yucatán
Thursday 8 July: Exploración Maya and El Galeón de Manila
Friday 9 July: Nevado de Toluca, lo sagrado en las alturas