Commissioned by the Dutch Embassy in Benin,West Africa, a Masterplan study is conducted for a potential development of the main port of Benin, Cotonou.
If this expansion of the harbour will take place, it will imply a great impact on the seabed as there will be extensive dredging and construction works in the Cotonou harbour, its shores and at sea.
One of the aspects which should be be considered for the Masterplan, is the potential impact on any present maritime cultural heritage, including but not limited to, shipwrecks, drowned settlements and historical anchorages. This is obviously of great importance to Benin, after all it involves its own (Maritime) history, culture and identity. In 2011 Benin signed the UNESCO 2001 Convention for the protection of maritime cultural heritage.
Delta Heritage & Archaeology, the joint-venture between MR&C and ADC ArcheoProjecten, has been asked to do a first research of the existence and availability of (written) sources on the presence of maritime cultural heritage. Also we will investigate where opportunities lie for social investment/social return in the area of cultural heritage and archaeology.