‘The immensity of the problem of ongoing commercial exploitation and pillaging of underwater cultural heritage sites is largely unnoticeable by the public. What sits on the ocean floor is invisible historic treasure. Too often its disappearance remains hidden. Yet, the number of salvaged artefacts is in the millions.’
This November, we are focussing on a category of heritage that many of us are unaware of – Underwater Cultural Heritage. Apart from being abundant in natural heritage, water bodies are also home to sunken cultural heritage treasures. Therefore excavation, interpretation and preservation of these cultural artefacts are of grave importance as they aid us understanding the past better. With advancement in technology, underwater and maritime archaeology and research has garnered much needed impetus toward uncovering the secrets of the past, submerged under water.
In 2001 UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Convention defined underwater cultural heritage as, ‘all traces of human existence having a cultural, historical or archaeological character which have been partially or totally under water, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years’.
Here is giving you a glimpse into the richness of underwater heritage:
Submerged human settlements– Did you know just along the shores of Mediterranean there are more than 150 sunken cities and port structures?
Caves and wells– Caves and wells have managed to preserve many of the artefacts and traces of ancient civilisations. Some examples being:
Wrecks– Ocean floors are also contain traces of human travel, adventures and wars. It is estimated that 3 million shipwrecks are spread across the ocean floors. There are also other remenats such as submerged airplane wrecks, military equipments etc.
Ports, Bridges, Constructions: There are countless number of submerged ports, bridges and other form of water related built structures, which too form a large category of underwater heritage.
Stay tuned as we bring to you the cultural marvels submerged deep in water and uncover the mysteries of these forgotten artefacts.
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