20.04.2017 - Culture Sector

UNESCO invites to the Evening Event “Heritage of the Depths” (30 May 2017)

The Danton shipwreck. © DRASSM

On 30 May 2017, UNESCO will organize an exclusive event encompassing the premiere of a film on the deep-sea research of the World War I shipwreck Danton by French underwater archaeologists under the lead of Michel L’Hour. It was produced by Gedeon Programmes and contributes to the UNESCO ‘Heritage for Peace and Reconciliation’ Initiative. It will also feature expert’s interventions on technical progress in deep-sea underwater archaeology, access to underwater cultural heritage and threats posed by treasure hunting on historic wrecks.

One hundred years ago, in the midst of World War I, the French ship Danton was sunk by a German submarine with almost 300 men on board. 92 years later, in 2009, a geosciences company stumbled upon the wreck during an underwater survey for a gas pipeline. The Danton was found in remarkably good condition, just off the coast of Sardinia (Italy), sitting upright in over 1,000m of water. Several gun turrets remained intact, and the remains of 296 sailors were retrieved inside the wreck. Research work carried out by the French Underwater Archaeology Department DRASSM will be featured in the film by Gedeon Programme, which will be screened for the first time during this event.

The reputed underwater archaeologist Michel L’Hour, member of the UNESCO Scientific and Technical Advisory Body, and leader of the Danton research will then speak on the work on the wreck. He will be followed by an intervention by the well-known lawyer James Goold, who defended several States in cases of treasure hunting on ancient shipwrecks and will share experiences on the legal pursuit of pillage.

The event, which is open to the public via registration, constitutes a unique opportunity to discover the world of underwater cultural heritage. It is organized in the framework of the sixth Meeting of States Parties to the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and of World Oceans Day.

The Heritage for Peace and Reconciliation Education Initiative is organized on the occasion of the Centenary of World War I, running from 2014 to 2018. It aims to educate the public and particularly youth on the impact of war and the importance of its cultural heritage for strengthening awareness of the importance of peace and achieving reconciliation. It focuses on underwater cultural heritage.

Registration closes on 26 May. (Link)

“Heritage of the Depths”
Film screening and presentations
Tuesday, 30 May 2017 at 6.30pm

UNESCO Headquarters, Room I
7 Place de Fontenoy, Paris, France




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