As you already know, two students from Suriname are also participating in the UNESCO Foundation Course for Underwater Cultural Heritage Management in the Caribbean to protect their cultural heritage. Both participants (Guno Phagu and Rambharosa Dharwiendre) are students from the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. We study History with a minor in Archaeology at the faculty of humanities.
In Suriname there is not a lot done in the field of underwater cultural heritage management, so this training was the golden opportunity for us. Suriname has a lot of underwater cultural heritage that has to be managed. Some of them are: the Goslar, a 2nd world war ship that is in the Suriname river. The Leusden, which is an 18th century slave ship that sunk in the mouth Marowijne river. We also have the Prof. dr.ir.W.J. van Blommestein lake, where 27 villages drowned because of the building of the Afobakka dam for hydroelectricity in 1958. We know about these sites based on historical documents, but underwater research has not been done yet.
After completing the Foundation course, we are planning to start with the research in the Prof. dr.ir.W.J. van Blommestein lake to investigate the opportunities this area has in terms of cultural heritage resources. The visibility is good in the lake and we are eager to know more about the structures of the villages. All were maroon (runaway slaves) communities living there from the colonial period. There are rumors that there must also be a church in one of the villages with a bell. We are eager to look for the evidence ourselves.
This course will help us a lot in doing all this, we learn here how to recognize, record and preserve artefacts underwater. During this training we learn a lot from not only the trainers but also our fellow students, some of which are already working in the field of (underwater) cultural heritage management. We learn about the heritage and heritage management in different Caribbean countries too. We have built up a team and become friends with each other. We expect to work together and help each other in the future to manage our underwater cultural heritage
When doing projects in Suriname we will surely need the help of our friends, because in Suriname we don’t have all the experienced people. Maybe they can also help us with finding funds for the projects. And we will also help them if needed. In this regard we are very happy to know that one of our trainers is from the RCE in the Netherlands. Suriname being one of the priority countries for Mutual Heritage we have already started to discuss the possibilities of setting up joined projects. Will be continued!
Anton de Kom University, Suriname