Park rangers of the Southern Patagonia Coastal Marine Park in Argentina get training in maritime and underwater archaeology.

Coastal-marine protected areas imply a new challenge for conservation within them. They require a broader view not only of the natural marine heritage, but also of the cultural heritage found on coasts, islands and underwater.

The archipelago in the northern sector of the San Jorge Gulf, protected by the Southern Patagonia Coastal Marine Park (PIMCPA), represents an outstanding point within the Patagonian coast. This area has historically witnessed the presence of vessels of different nationalities dedicated to the exploration and exploitation of marine resources, the transport of people and goods, as well as the maintenance of the lighthouse located on Leones Island.

These events of the historical past motivated the development of the project "Documentation, research and enhancement of underwater and coastal cultural resources in the maritime coast of the province of Chubut", directed by Dr. Mónica Grosso and Architect Cristian Murray, both researchers of the Underwater Archaeology Programme of the National Institute of Anthropology and Latin American Thought (PROAS-INAPL). In the framework of this programme, different investigations have been carried out in the area within the PIMCPA, where numerous findings have been recorded, including shipwrecks, structures and isolated artefacts associated with navigation.

Since the beginning of the investigations in 2015, the PIMCPA park rangers and archaeologist Soledad Caracotche, of Argentina´s National Parks agency, have provided physical and logistical support in the field work and monitoring of the sites. This work dynamic generated the conditions to plan different specific training courses in maritime and underwater archaeology for park rangers.

On this occasion, between the 18th and 22nd of January 2021, the Introduction course and Part I of the NAS training programme in maritime and underwater archaeology was held for PIMCPA park rangers. The course was given by Dr. Guillermo Gutierrez (IDEAus-Conicet, INAPL), with the participation of Dr. Dolores Elkin (CONICET-INAPL) director of PROAS-INAPL. The course comprised theoretical and practical classes both on land and underwater. This training represents an advance in one of the main commitments of this protected area, which is to support science and contribute to heritage conservation.


Dr. Guillermo Gutiérrez

Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución Austral - Conicet

Bvard Brown 2915, Puerto Madryn