March 7, 2022
While the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab (CHML) at the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) continues its critical work monitoring cultural and historical sites throughout Ukraine, its efforts are still required in other countries throughout the world.
Nearly half-way across the world from Ukraine, VMNH Archaeologist and U.S. Army Monuments Officer, Captain Bill Welsh, arrived in Honduras on Saturday in preparation of this week's cultural heritage conservation exchange in cooperation with members of Joint Task Force-Bravo of the U.S. Southern Command, the 120th Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Honduras, and The Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History. The joint training exercises are set to take place today through Friday.
Through these training exercises, Captain Welsh and U.S. partners will help Hondurans in their efforts to identify and preserve culturally and historically important locations throughout the country during natural and man-made disasters, as well as during routine operations throughout the country.
This is the second mission in Honduras that the CHML will help facilitate, with CHML Director and VMNH Assistant Curator of Archaeology Dr. Hayden Bassett once again running command center from the museum. Additionally, the museum is contributing climate-change related flood modeling, and projected flooding and erosion impacts to the Mayan city of Copán, where exercises will take place.
Exercises like these not only provide countries with critical training in cultural heritage identification and preservation, but according to the U.S. Embassy in Honduras, they also help strengthen relationships among partner nations by integrating U.S. military engineers and civil affairs professionals with military counterparts, local archeologists, and international anthropologists.
* Images from a previous mission in Honduras