Preserving cultural heritage during the Nicaragua Canal Project
Nicaragua, Central America
HK-Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., Limited (HKND Group) hired ERM to conduct an environmental and social impact assessment of the proposed Nicaragua Canal. With a Nicaraguan cultural heritage expert serving as Principal Investigator, we located and assessed cultural sites of varying sensitivity in the vicinity of the proposed canal. Our fieldwork was coordinated with the Instituto Nicaragüense de Cultura (INC) – the lead agency responsible for conserving Nicaraguan culture – and the Rama and Kriol Territorial Government. ERM also engaged local communities and national stakeholders in the process pursuant to international and national standards.
Through our field survey, ERM discovered 330 new cultural heritage sites. Over 15,000 artifacts, primarily ceramic shards along with chipped and ground stone artifacts, have been recovered by the survey. All sites were mapped and their coordinates included in a cultural heritage database to support future protection and management efforts. ERM also recommended mitigation measures to reduce impacts to these sites.
ERM's work on this project has the potential to yield a substantial positive impact on our public and scholarly understanding of Nicaraguan history and culture, especially aspects of its pre-Columbian past.