MEXICO CITY –The subdirector of underwater archeology of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), Pilar Luna, said that it was difficult to protect the cultural patrimony that lays within Mexican waters from treasure hunters. She specified, however, that great efforts were being made by the Navy Secretariat and the Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT).
Speaking on the recognition she will receive next March from the Spanish Geographical Society with the 2015 Prize for Investigation, the underwater archeologist reminded everyone that the two most coveted boats due to be explored are the Nuestra Señora del Juncal and the Santa Teresa, both submerged in Mexican waters.
At the moment, she explained, there is a strong pressure on the federal government from the company Odyssey Marine Exploration to grant it the underwater exploration permits.
Pedro Sánchez Nava, the INAH national archeology coordinator, warned that the western part of Mexico is the most susceptible to looting of cultural patrimony that lays in Mexican waters by treasure hunters, in an area where the Tumbas de Tiro (or Shaft Tombs) are located.
Pilar Luna also admitted that some pieces, considered as cultural patrimony, risk getting lost due to strong marine currents in subterranean waters generated by climate change.
Currently there are more than 48,000 thousand sites registered as aquatic cultural patrimony and only 20 underwater archaeologists from the INAH in charge of investigating and documenting the sites.