In the scope of a masterplan study, conducted by Witteveen+Bos and Maritime & Transport Business Solutions B.V., for the potential development of the port of Cotonou, Delta Heritage & Archaeology carried out a study on the existence and accessibility of sources on the presence of maritime cultural heritage.
Development of the port could have a serious impact on maritime cultural heritage, if present. A Desk Based Assessment (DBA) is a first step in determining whether or not maritime cultural heritage is known to exist in the research area and describes its archaeological potential. For a DBA, a wide range of sources (archival, historical, nautical, etc.) need to be consulted. Therefore, Delta Heritage & Archaeology carried our a thorough investigation on the availability and accessibility of such resources for the Cotonou area. Besides, we contacted Beninese and international key figures in the field of Beninese archaeology and (maritime) heritage.
The results show that there are ample historical and other resources available to conduct a succesful DBA. Moreover, considering historical seafaring routes, factories, and the presence of a fortification within or close to the research area, the port of Cononou should be regarded as an area with high (maritime) heritage potential.
Image source: Carte des Établissements français du Golfe de Bénin / par Victor Ballot, administrateur principal des colonies, résident de France au Bénin. 1889; lith. F. Appel, 12 rue du Delta, Paris