Going Green: Using Environmental Protections to Safeguard the Underwater Cultural Heritage

Author(s): Barry Bleichner

Year: 2013

Summary

The Caribbean Sea is host to a significant number of colonial-era wrecks and has historically been a prime hunting spot for commercial salvors.  Frequently, salvage of this underwater cultural heritage (UCH) occurred with the blessing of the governing authority or was implicitly endorsed by the courts determining proprietary rights.  Many wrecks are located in ecologically-sensitive areas, however, or serve as substrate for the growth of new underwater habitat.  As such, the wreck sites may become subject to environmental regulations through which damaging salvage activities can be proscribed.  For example, one unique innovation in the Dominican Republic, originally formulated by Indiana University, is the establishment of "Living Museums of the Sea."  These living museums protect both the natural and cultural heritage within sanctuary boundaries and so wrecks remain off-limits to salvage. This presentation will focus on living museums and the use of other environmental regulations to protect UCH.

Cite this Record

Going Green: Using Environmental Protections to Safeguard the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Barry Bleichner. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428297)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 665