20.11.2018 - Culture Sector

Underwater Cultural Heritage in Europe today


On the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the international conference on ''Underwater Cultural Heritage in Europe today” will be held by the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology - UNESCO Category II Centre on 25-26 October 2018 in Zadar, Croatia. The event is organised under the patronage of UNESCO and with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture to foster dialogue, exchange experiences and ideas. New achievements in the protection and preservation of underwater cultural heritage will be presented.

As the European Year of Cultural Heritage is more than just a series of exciting events taking place across Europe, it is also a time during which people caring for our cultural heritage on European, national, regional and local levels will make a positive impact on the way we protect and enjoy it, building the legacy of the European Year.

Underwater Cultural Heritage encompasses all traces of human existence that lie or were lying under water and have a cultural or historical character. Recognising the urgent need to preserve and protect such heritage, UNESCO elaborated this idea in 2001 with the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

The goals of the European Year of Cultural Heritage year fit the concept of the Zadar conference on ''Underwater Cultural Heritage in Europe today”, that of promoting sustainable cultural tourism, developing objective standards for interventions in historic environments and heritage site; fighting against illicit trafficking of cultural assets; and, managing the threats to which cultural heritage is exposed.

The Zadar conference will focus over 2 days on underwater cultural heritage and diving connected with historic tourism. Ten speakers and twenty archaeologists, historians, professional divers from the EU and Eastern Europe will centre discussions around the implementation of the UNESCO 2001 Convention in EU countries and other European countries.

Some national and international laws do not comprehensively protect underwater cultural heritage. The experiences of the countries that have applied the UNESCO 2001 Convention and those that have not yet applied the convention are important to compare what happened. Representatives of the ministries of culture of 10 European countries will attend this conference towards that end.

Key current issues and challenges will be identified. How these issues could be addressed and encourage people to explore Europe’s rich and diverse cultural heritage will also be explored. The conference will provide participants with opportunities for formal cooperation with institutions in Europe and specialized institutions responsible for dealing with the preservation of underwater cultural heritage.

The conference is in line with the priorities of the Organization aimed at protecting cultural heritage, more particularly, underwater cultural heritage. It will help to raise awareness on the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and on the importance of protecting and safeguarding this heritage among underwater experts, as well as decision-makers, around the world.

Croatia was among the first countries to ratify the UNESCO Convention from its adoption in 2001. UNESCO proclaimed the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology (ICUA) in Zadar as a regional centre (category 2) under the auspices of UNESCO.

ICUA was founded in Zadar in 2007 with a view to preserving the underwater material culture of Croatia, South-East Europe and the wider Mediterranean area. It promotes the ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, coordinating the safeguarding of submerged historical sites and preventing their destruction.

Website: http://www.icua.hr/




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