Ethics, Underwater Cultural Heritage, and International Law

Thijs J. Maarleveld

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Ethics, Underwater Cultural Heritage, and International Law

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  • Archaeology
  • Underwater Archaeology



Maritime archaeology has given rise to quite a few issues. The meaning of heritage for the society has undergone changes, and thus, ethical discussion has evolved, which is discussed in this article. Archaeological discourses include a historical review that is helpful in understanding how insights have developed. Archaeology is not uniform and archaeological heritage has been studied through different approaches and thinking. An item attributed heritage value in one part of the continent may not be regarded as the same in another part of the continent. For maritime archaeology, this national bias has been influential in several ways and it continues to be so. The principle that “heritage” is a public matter is quite central in the developing ethics of the archaeological profession. This article finally discusses the international development of a body of maritime law specifically concerning underwater cultural heritage.

Keywords: maritime heritage; ethical discussion; archaeological heritage; underwater cultural heritage; maritime law; maritime archaeology

Article.  11661 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Underwater Archaeology

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