Friday, 3 May 2013

Underwater archaeology: why is our submerged cultural heritage so important?

VIDEO: Spotlight on Underwater Archaeology
In the August 2012 issue of European Journal of Archaeology a special section was dedicated to research and heritage management in underwater archaeology. It provides an international perspective with overviews of maritime archaeology in Andalusia, France, Croatia and Turkey. The following is an extract from the issue's Editorial:

"Key themes shared by [the articles] include: the history of underwater archaeological research, conservation and museum projects since World War II; the ever-expanding parameters of what constitutes underwater archaeology; the ongoing threats to underwater heritage and the measures being taken to protect, manage and promote it; the importance of documenting underwater archaeological remains; and the strengths and weaknesses of related organizations that depend upon government funding.

Jonathan Benjamin and Alex Hale promote an inclusive approach to the study and management of underwater archaeological sites and landscapes found in a variety of
complementary maritime and inland environments, ranging from offshore to coastal, estuarine, riverine, and lacustrine. They emphasize the importance of prehistoric underwater archaeologies, which have attracted less than their fair share of attention from the underwater archaeological community, not to mention the wider public. They also highlight the network of archaeologists, marine geophysicists, environmental scientists, and commercial and industrial organizations that is currently collaborating, with European Science Foundation funding, to develop research on the prehistoric landscapes of the European continental shelf."
Dr Jonathan Benjamin, co-editor of the section, also kindly provided a video that gives a background to this popular topic and an introduction to the organisations that are working to discover, preserve and protect our submerged cultural heritage.

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