Route of the Vessels: Developing a Digital Museum of the Maritime Landscape of Maldonado Bay.

The preservation and socialization of coastal and underwater cultural resources presents several challenges. Lack of information, difficult of public outreach, lack of awareness of the common cultural heritage and depredation, among other aspects, such as the negative effects on coastal areas of climate change, have brought cultural assets to a state of almost invisibility within our society and an irreparable exhaustion of cultural resources throughout the world (Guérin & Egger, 2001). In order to reverse this trend, new forms of protection, study and socialization of cultural heritage are being developed.

In this sense, this project aims to establish a multidisciplinary network of researchers with the aim of developing a workflow based on digital technology to document, evaluate, preserve and disseminate information derived from maritime cultural heritage to a wider public, with the thread on the boats, their routes and landscapes. It is based on recent developments in archeology and maritime anthropology and graphic computing to propose an approach to the problem of heritage preservation, combining in situ preservation strategies with innovative graphic computing techniques for digital preservation and dissemination to the public in environments that allow users to interact with knowledge. This proposal is placed in the conceptual framework of the Digital Humanities, an emerging field of research that combines methodologies from the human sciences and museology studies with computational tools towards digital inclusion (Burdick et al., 2012).

In addition, with the continuation of this project, we foresee three great integrated results in the medium term:

1) Development of a baseline for the monitoring and management of the maritime-coastal heritage of Uruguay;

2) Development of an accessible work methodology for the documentation, preservation and dissemination of knowledge about cultural heritage based on innovative digital technologies;

3) Contribute to the public understanding of its maritime cultural heritage and the need to preserve Uruguayan coastal heritage.

4) Extend this project to other levels, such as providing data and information to include the study area to the “Unesco Route”, which is a project that seeks to promote knowledge of the sites and patrimonial manifestations of Uruguay. This project was recently inaugurated by the MEC and Unesco and corresponds to the proposal of the work that we present.

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