Gambia sets its course for the protection of its underwater cultural heritage

From January 10 to 25, three other Gambian professionals have benefitted from a first underwater archaeology training on the basics for the protection of underwater heritage. Two of them came from the Gambian National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and two from The Gambia Navy, key entities for the protection of underwater cultural goods.
I am delighted to participate in this very first training as a woman. This experience has given me a better understanding of our role as a security force for the preservation of our submerged heritage.
Sunkary Jarju, agent at Gambia Navy

The training has taken place in Dakar (Senegal), with the lead of the Gambian National Commission for UNESCO and the NCAC, and counting on the support of UNESCO and the Direction du patrimoine Culturel (DPC) of Senegal. It shows the importance of South-South collaboration, especially within Senegal and Gambia, two countries with a shared maritime history, and which are the owners of a rich underwater cultural heritage.

The decision to hold this project with Senegal is justified upon its experience and advancements in the management of this lesser-known heritage. The training has been accomplished with the involvement of researchers in underwater archeology from Cheikh Anta Diop University leaded by Moussa WELE and instructors from the Oceanium diving center (Dakar). It has taken place in various sites of Dakar and Gorée.

I really appreciated the collaboration with our Senegalese brothers who spared no effort to share their experience with us in this totally new field. The experience acquired will allow me as a museum agent to participate in raising awareness among the Gambian public about the promotion and preservation of our submerged heritage.
Musa Foon, officer at the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC)

This training activity is part of the project ‘Sensitization and Capacity Building on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in The Gambia’, the very first of its kind in the country. It aims not only at building capacities for the preservation of underwater cultural heritage, but also to raise awareness on the value ​of underwater heritage and the importance of  preserving it through the ratification of the 2001 UNESCO Convention.


This initiative is aligned with the objectives of the UNESCO Dakar Office for the protection of the submerged cultural heritage of the Atlantic coast of Africa.


For more information:

Read the recommendations of African countries during the UNESCO regional meeting held in Gorée in January 2019.

Read the 2001 UNESCO Convention.