Hello Everyone

Just wanted to relate a landmark decision that has profound significance for the maritime archaeological protection of shipwrecks in Haitian waters regarding the investigation of the possible remains of the “Santa Maria”. It’s a good day for maritime archaeology!

Michael Murray

From: http://www.haitilibre.com/article-11546-haiti-patrimoine-barry-clifford-n-est-plus-autorise-a-poursuivre-ses-fouilles-sous-marines-en-haiti.html

Haiti – Heritage: Barry Clifford is no longer allowed to continue its underwater excavations in Haiti
07/08/2014 11:07:14

Haiti - Heritage: Barry Clifford is no longer allowed to continue its underwater excavations in Haiti

Monday at a press conference at the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH) Monique Rosann Minister of Culture gave an update on the “discovery” in May, a wreck off the north coast of Haiti by explorer Barry Clifford, better known as a professional treasure hunter, who says it is the remains of Santa Maria (ship Admiral Christophe the Government in this case is very cautious, the Minister said there was no certainty about the name of this wreck, which had also been located before Barry Clifford, through studies conducted between 1978 and 1985 by the University of Florida with permission from the Haitian government. The Minister said that following the request for technical assistance from the Government of Haiti to the Scientific Council of the UNESCO Convention, in a letter dated 12 June Scientific Committee of UNESCO has deemed non-compliant, proposed by Mr. Clifford to perform underwater excavations on alleged remains of the Santa Maria and the proposed method in this work team was not qualified. Following UNESCO recommendations, the Government of Haiti rejects the proposal Explorer and authorizes more to continue its underwater excavations. Moreover, the Minister rejected the state of emergency invoked by Barry Clifford , claiming that the wreck was protected by several meters of sediment and showed no risk that justifies immediate excavation. Responding to the request of the Haitian government, UNESCO will provide technical assistance and should send in August a team expert, who will study in depth the wreck. 

Important New Decision by Minister of Culture, Haiti for UNESCO protection of possible “Santa Maria” wreck

Michael Murray

Michael has specialised in maritime archaeology since 1997. Prior to Wessex, he worked for a variety of archaeological organisations, including the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) on his first underwater archaeological excavation of the Monti Christi Pipewreck in the summer of 1997. Following this, he was a volunteer archaeological diver on the Aucilla River Prehistory Project in 1998. His terrestrial experience comes from serving as an archaeology student on the Tolo Lake Excavation project in Northern Idaho with the University of Idaho and more recently on a phase III Woodland Era site in Northern Arkansas for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. Michael has also worked for a number of years within the historic tallship industry as an Able-Bodied Seaman and Captain. This culminated in the creation of his own underwater archaeological outreach program aboard an 1833 replica pilot schooner in St. Augustine, Florida and ran part-time from 2007 to 2010. Michael’s most extensive experience comes from working as a maritime archaeologist for Panamerican Consultants, Inc.; the longest running and most active SCRM in North America that offers submerged cultural resource management services throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Michael has logged almost 100 surface-supplied archaeological dives with SEARCH and Panamerican and well over 200 combined commercial, scientific and recreational dives in his career. Recently, he supervised two archaeological diving projects for Panamerican and one foreshore survey. The latter involved leading a team for four weeks that documented 117 historic rice plantation sites in an intertidal zone using a 17- foot Carolina skiff on the Savannah River. He has also been responsible for generating a dozen archaeological reports for Panamerican that include an extensive amount of historic archival work as well as magnetometer, sub-bottom profile, and side-scan sonar data processing and analysis. Michael’s role as a maritime archaeologist for various organisations has also meant that he has developed the necessary skills and experience that are essential for working effectively with a wide range of clients, curators and stakeholders. He has directed or otherwise been responsible for significant work on a wide variety of important sites including the Mont-Christi Pipewreck (a 17th Century Dutch shipwreck with the 3rd largest cache of Dutch clay pipes found in the Western Hemisphere), the excavations of the Civil War tin and wooden clad ships Echo and Undine, the Marble Wreck, the Western World, and the Mexico. Most recently, he has been involved in the highly publicised initial stages of recording and raising the CSS Georgia; the first iron-clad vessel that the Confederates built in 1862 and sank in 1864. Currently, Michael is working on a PhD at the University of Southampton that involves the use of a highly innovative underwater laser scanning device developed by 2G Robotics based in Waterloo, Ontario. A strong component of this project is to ascertain its efficacy for historic shipwreck management and monitoring.

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