Underwater Cultural Heritage
The estimated three million shipwrecks and sunken cities and thousands of prehistoric sites and human remains lying under water constitute a precious legacy.
The world’s oceans, rivers and lakes make up the planet`s largest museum, providing a unique testimony to the history of past civilizations and the spirit and craftsmanship of our ancestors in their constant enterprise to explore other regions and exchange with other cultures.
Today, our submerged heritage is seriously endangered by the commercial and industrial exploitation and looting of the planet’s waterways and other factors that threaten to deprive humanity of this fascinating and yet little-known heritage.
As part of its worldwide efforts to safeguard our common cultural heritage in its diverse forms, UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in 2001. This international treaty sets out ethic principles for the protection of submerged heritage, provides a detailed state cooperation system, and practical scientific rules for the treatment and research of this heritage.