International Research Network on World War I Underwater Cultural Heritage

At the fourth Meeting of States Parties to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in May 2013, the States Parties followed the recommendations of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body and decided that special commemorative and scientific events for World War I underwater heritage needed to be organized due to the historical importance of World War I and its submerged heritage.

The main objective of the recently established research network is to create a strong international research community that will link several national research projects. It will establish a common approach to research and  foster technological advances that will ensure heritage preservation and documentation.

This research network will not only bridge national boundaries, but also scientific ones. The organizations involved in the project have technical expertise in the field of underwater archaeology, excel in academic research, or have experience in presenting cultural heritage to the general public. Their cooperation facilitates an interdisciplinary approach that combines the technical know-how of maritime archaeology and academic research on the naval history of World War I with the practical knowledge on how to best present the resulting information to a wider audience.

This network, which will function over a period of four years (2014-2018), will ultimately result in a better understanding of the naval history of World War I and the heritage it has left behind. It will also allow us to reinterpret the history of World War I by bringing an otherwise obscure and little known heritage back to the surface and into the spotlight. Overall, the research network will help to raise awareness of the significance of World War I's underwater heritage and we are optimistic that it will lead to an improvement of its protection and preservation.


The research network focuses on scientific research, the development of new methodologies, and the preservation of large-scale metal underwater cultural heritage sites. It will make a substantial contribution to the coordination of currently fractured research efforts and strengthen scientific networking. Common scientific objectives include: the identification of the location of underwater cultural heritage sites from the World War I period (1914-1918) and an assessment of their preservation and protection status; cataloging identified sites; the identification of threats and solutions to ensure improved protection; historical and cultural taxation of the submerged sites; and the development of new technologies to better reach, study, preserve and present underwater cultural heritage from World War I.

The accomplishments of the international research network will be disseminated among the public through exhibitions, films, 3D-imaging, educational tools, printed material and improved accessibility to the sites. This will hopefully not only raise awareness on World War I underwater heritage, but also keep the memory of the men, women and children who perished during these battles alive. 

Planned Network Activities

Network activities will, if funding is ensured, encompass among other things:

  • an Exchange Forum that will ensure the exchange between participating institutions and experts;
  • a Scientific and Commemorative Event for the Centenary of the Naval Battles of World War I taking place in Bruges, Belgium on 26-28 June 2014;
  • a ‘Safeguard Peace Day’ and a ‘Dive for Peace Day’, as well as educational outreach;
  • a Gallipoli Scientific Conference on the submerged heritage of the Gallipoli Campaign in April 2015, in Cannkale, Turkey;
  • a seminar on the underwater heritage of the Battle of Jutland at the Strandings Museum in Denmark in 2016 and;
  • an Armistice & League of Nations Commemoration Event & Exhibition in 2018

Network Partners


Ulrike Guérin
UNESCO, Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001)
7 Place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris Cedex 7, France
Tel: + 33 1 45 68 44 06
E-mail: u.guerin(at)





NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Tim Smith
Deputy Director, Heritage Branch
Regional Operations
Office of Environment and Heritage
NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
Locked Bag 5020 Parramata NSW 2124, Australia
Tel: + 61 2 98 73 85 75





Flanders Heritage Agency

Marnix Pieters
Flanders Heritage Agency, Maritime Archaeology 
Koning Albert-II laan 19 bus 5 B-1210 Brussels, Belgium
Tel.: + 32 25 53 16 72
E-mail: marnix.pieters(at)





Department for Underwater Archaeological Research

Michel L'Hour
Department for Underwater Archaeological Research
147 plage de l'Estaque, 13016 Marseille, France
Tel.: +33 4 91 14 28 00
E-mail: le-drassm(at)




Alain Dinis, Director
Tel.: +33 (0)6 85 08 36 82
E-mail: adinis(at)





Strandingsmuseum St. George

Lars Froberg Mortensen
Strandingsmuseum St. George, Thorsminde, Denmark
E-mail: lfm(at)






Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands – Maritime Heritage Programme

Martijn Manders
Cultural Heritage Agency
Smallepad 5, 3811 MG Amersfoort, Netherlands
Tel.: +31 33 421 74 21
E-mail : M.Manders(at)





Instituto de História Contemporânea

Fernanda Rollo
E-mail: fernandarollo(at)
Instituto<//a><//a> de História Contemporânea
Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Av. Berna, 26 C
1069-061 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel. : +35 12 17 90 83 00



The Portuguese Commission for UNESCO

Fátima Claudino
Técnica Superior
Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros  | Comissão Nacional da UNESCO
Palácio das Necessidades, Largo das Necessidades
1350-215 Lisboa - Portugal
Tel.: +35 12 13 94 66 23
E-mail: fatima.claudino(at)





Swedish National Maritime Museums

Andréas OlssonChef Arkeologienheten / Head of Archaeology UnitStatens Maritima Museer / Swedish National Maritime MuseumsMarinmuseum - Sjöhistoriska museet - VasamuseetP.O. Box 27131 | SE-102 52 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 51 95 49 56 







Savas Karakas Productions

Savaş Karakaş, Canakkale, Turkey
Tel.: +90 21 22 93 50 43/44 İz TV







Fjordr Limited

Dr. Antony Firth
Director Fjordr Limited
Post Office House, High Street
Tisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 6LD, UK
Tel.: +44 0 17 47 87 38 06
E-mail: info(at)



Maritime Archaeology Trust

Garry Momber, Director
The Maritime Archaeology Trust
Room W1/95, National Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock
Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK
Tel.: +44 23 80 59 32 90
E-mail: garry.momber(at)   



The Nautical Archaeology Society

Mark Beattie-Edwards
The Nautical Archaeology Society
Fort Cumberland, Fort Cumberland Road
Portsmouth PO4 9LD, UK
Tel/Fax: +44(0)23 9281 8419
E-mail: mark(at)



Sea Change

John Gribble MA, MIfA, Director
Sea Change Heritage Consultants Ltd
Mob: +44 74 50 21 66 66
E-mail : john.gribble(at)





The Ocean Foundation, USA

Mark J. Spalding, President
1990 M Street NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20036
Tel.: +1 20 28 87 89 92



Cooperating Scientists

Innes McCartney BA (hons), MA, MA
Postgraduate Researcher
School of Applied Sciences
Bournemouth University
Bournemouth, UK

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