Shipwreck Archaeology in South America

Dolores Elkin

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Shipwreck Archaeology in South America

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  • Archaeology
  • History and Theory of Archaeology



This article focuses on archaeological discoveries of shipwrecks as a component of nautical, maritime, and underwater archaeology in the South American region. It gives insight into shipwreck research studies conducted in different South American countries through various case studies. In the mid-1990s, Argentina witnessed the birth of two underwater archaeology research groups. Both teams conduct various activities pertaining to maritime cultural heritage, research, management, education, and public outreach. Brazil was the first country in South America to begin conducting activities related to underwater cultural heritage. Chile has recently been developing several initiatives oriented toward preservation, public outreach, and investigation of the country's underwater cultural heritage. Shipwreck archaeology in Colombia is still at a nascent stage. Legislation in Uruguay has allowed the activities of treasure hunting and other forms of commercial exploitation of historic shipwrecks. The field of conservation of waterlogged materials is less mature than the archaeology front in South America.

Keywords: archaeological discoveries; shipwreck research studies; maritime management; underwater cultural heritage; shipwreck archaeology; underwater archaeology research

Article.  9660 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; History and Theory of Archaeology

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