Protecting Underwater Cultural Heritage in Caribbean Small Island States
The World's Underwater Cultural Heritage
The seabed is often called "the biggest museum of the world".
Underwater cultural heritage encompasses all traces of human existence that lie or have lain underwater and have a cultural or historical character. This includes three million shipwrecks such as Titanic, Belitung and the 4,000 shipwrecks of the sunken fleet of Kublai Khan. There are also sunken ruins and cities, like the remains of the Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - and thousands of submerged prehistoric sites.
Over the course of earth's history, entire cities have been swallowed by the waves, and thousands of ships have perished at sea. While these ships, structures and other cultural items are not frequently visible from the water's surface, they have survived at the bottom of lakes, seas and oceans, safely preserved by the submarine environment.
Such heritage provide testimony to various periods and aspects of our shared history; for example, the cruelty of the slave trade, the ferocity of war, the impact of natural disasters, traces of sacred ceremonies and beliefs and the peaceful exchange and intercultural dialogue between disparate regions of the globe.
Discover the world's underwater cultural heritage:
- Submerged Landscapes
- Caves & Wells
- Traces of Marine Exploitation
- Databases of Underwater Cultural Heritage