Underwater archaeology

Wanting to archaeologically explore the bottom of the Titicaca Lake is no recent idea. Ever since new techniques appeared and could be mastered that makes it possible to get – in scuba gear - to this area until then inaccessible , numerous expeditions were performed in the waters of the Titicaca Lake between 1954 and 2004.

According to our current state of knowledge, at least 19 archaeological diving operations took place in the Bolivian territory, including one led by Commandant Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1968 and another led by Johan Reinhard with National Geographic between 1989 and 1992. Both expeditions revealed that the underwater exploration of the Titicaca Lake is very rich and exceptional for a single specific region from an historical point of view. This past research and underwater exploration of the Titicaca Lake provides an important legacy and a significant experience that has allowed  for a new ULB-led excavations project to be designed between 2012 and 2014 (Huiñaimarca Project) and, in its continuation, a second project between 2016 and 2018 (Titicaca Project) in  collaboration with the BTC.

Currently, the operations carried out by the ULB between 2012 and 2017 led to the localization of 22 immerged archaeological sites within which more than 20,000 objects were discovered. This represents 220 days with interventions on the Lake, 1609 digging hours and more than 1,350 immersions. The bi-national team is made of 30 members: 15 Belgian (or European) experts and 15 Bolivian experts.