By our nature, all Caribbean islands are tied to the sea. Maritime heritage is a fundamental part of Caribbean life, informing both our natural and cultural history. While conservation of important archaeological sites can be a challenge (the most widely endangered being shipwrecks), Latin American and Caribbean archaeologists have increasingly taken a unified approach to conservation efforts, despite differences in legal circumstance.
In the Cayman Islands, maritime archaeology has flourished over the past thirty three years. In 1979-1980, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology conducted a survey which resulted in an inventory of 77 maritime sites on all three islands. The number of recorded sites has now grown to 140. Extensive research on The Wreck of the Ten Sail shipwreck, primarily done by CINM’s Director and marine archaeologist, led to a Museum exhibit visited on the wreck’s 200th Anniversary by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Postal Service stamp issue, and 1994 Currency Board commemorative coin.
Three key archeological initiatives have been envisioned by the partnership of The Cayman Islands National Museum, National Trust, National Archive and Department of Environment:The Maritime Heritage Trail, Glamis Shipwreck Preserve, and research on rare and fragile sites. The partnership also aims to create a Cayman Islands Maritime Archaeology Programme initially focusing on the preservation of shipwrecks.
In order to promote Maritime Heritage and Archaeological interests and awareness we offer the following programmes in collaboration with a Maritime Heritage Partnership of the Museum, Archive, Department of Environment and National Trust:
1) Maritime Trail Programme
2) Shipwreck Preserve Programme (in development - mapping & coordination started)