This summer saw NAS tutor Dr Jorge M. Herrera run a two-week NAS course at the National University (UNAM) in Mexico City. Among the participants was Rodrigo Vega, an archaeology student at the city’s Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (ENAH). A biomedical scientist by training, his archaeological turn happed when he attended his first NAS course seven years ago. His undergraduate dissertation is on site formation processes of the USS Somers shipwreck. This is his report on the course:


Fig. 1. The group on the second day of practice. (Photo: Octavio Sánchez)


This intensive course was attended by more than 20 people, most of them archaeology students but also historians, professional divers, engineers and biologists. It covered several modules of the NAS education programme, including Introduction to Maritime Archaeology, Underwater Archaeology, and Intertidal & Terrestrial Archaeology. It also covered some field-based skills through several pecording practicals in simulated contexts, both on land and underwater, as well as additional material including Maritime Archaeology Theory, Preservation of Submerged Artifacts, Marine Geophysics, Naval Architecture, Heritage Management and Protection, and Knowledge Diffusion.


Fig 2: Students practicing archaeological recording in simulated conditions using a grid . (Photo: Eduardo Castillo).


Many of the participants had the opportunity to further their involvement in maritime archaeology during the following weeks by volunteering in Dr. Herrera’s ongoing project, the first of its kind ever to be conducted in Mexico, investigating the maritime aspects of the Intervention War of 1846-1848. Students gained direct experience of some of the planning and execution of the project’s second field season. This involved the detailed photogrammetrical recording and geophysical survey of the USS Somers shipwreck, a 19th century vessel that sank off the port of Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico in 1846.


Dr. Herrera’s research will continue to develop over the coming years. He expects to be able to receive international NAS students and volunteers in the near future. Watch this space.


Dr. Herrera is a researcher at UNAM’s Institute of Anthropological Research


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Edited by John P Cooper

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