The coast between Loíza and San Juan harbors archaeological resources dating back to the pre-Columbian era and the historical evidence points to the presence of at least 66 shipwrecks in the area, from early in the colonization process during the 16th century up to the 19th century.
The objective of this project is the archaeological exploration of 22 kilometers along Puerto Rico's north coast, between the municipalities of Loíza and San Juan.
The proximity of San Juan and the coast's topography - characterized by zones of high energy, a reef line that runs from east to west and other navigation hazards - make this an area of high potential for the presence of shipwrecks.
One of the central concerns of this project is to raise the awareness of the general public to the importance of the underwater cultural heritage of the island and a website, a newsletter and a number of popular publications are already in the plans, together with the scholarly outcome.
Sponsored by Texas A&M University's Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation (CMAC) , the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, the Spain-USA Foundation, and the Instituto de Investigaciones Costaneras (IIC), the 2008 exploration campaign was part of a wider in-depth study of the maritime cultural contexts represented on this part of the island, and pretends to be the core of a long-term project, which will hopefully harbor yearly summer schools where students from as many as possible universities around the World will meet to learn and network.
The 2008 field season report is published by the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.