Maritime forum

EU-UNESCO information meeting on underwater cultural heritage - protection and opportunities

Event date:
01/10/2015 -
11:00 to 14:00
The aim of the meeting is to examine the legal status, review recent technological achievements and suggest next steps for realising their potential to inform us about about Europe's history and prehistory and to enhance the tourist appeal of coastal areas.


1 October 2015

Room: A3G-2 Altiero Spinelli Building, European Parliament, Brussels


Underwater cultural heritage encompasses a vast legacy of millions of ancient shipwrecks, sunken cities, prehistoric sites and submerged landscapes. It holds not only information about the history of humankind and the social importance of the oceans but also about the history of climate change and its impact on humanity. At the High-level Conference of EU Ministers of Tourism, held in March 2014 in Athens, this submerged heritage has moreover been recognized as important for the diversification of coastal and maritime tourism. Today underwater cultural heritage is however endangered and still insufficiently protected, known and researched. The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage is the foremost international treaty concerning submerged heritage adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2001.

To increase awareness of the topic and facilitate knowledge exchange among experts, researchers and decision makers, an EU - UNESCO Information Meeting on Underwater Cultural Heritage is organized and will be hosted at the European Parliament. The objectives of the meeting are to provide information about latest trends in the protection, use and understanding of submerged archaeological sites, ranging from newest advances in 3D modelling of sites, new discoveries concerning historic climate change and submerged prehistory to the development of robot archaeologists able to dive in the deep sea.




Welcome and introduction by Ricardo Serrão Santos, MEP


Protection of underwater cultural heritage: The UNESCO Convention

Ulrike Guerin, UNESCO

UNESCO presentation


ARROWS project: Archaeological Robot systems for the World’s Seas

Benedetto Allotta, University of Florence, Italy

ARROWS presentation


SASMAP  project:  Development  of  Tools  and  Techniques  to  Survey, Assess, Stabilise, Monitor and Preserve Underwater Archaeological Sites

David John Gregory, National Museum of Denmark

 SASMAP presentation


SPLASHCOS project: Submerged prehistoric landscapes

Fritz Lueth, DAI, Germany

SPLASHCOS presenation


Open discussion


EU Research and Innovation in underwater cultural heritage

Birgit de Boissezon, European Commission – DG Research & Innovation

 presentation on EU research


Importance for coastal tourism and blue growth

Franz Lamplmair, European Commission – DG MARE


Open Discussion


Closing remarks


Networking and sandwich lunch


agenda in pdf concept note poster

Participants are kindly requested to

  • register for this event here
  • present themselves at the Agora Simone Veil entrance of the EP (Altiero Spinelli building side of Place du Luxembourg) for accreditation and badge access at 10:30 precise in order to avoid delay


European Marine Board Working Group on Continental Shelf Prehistoric Research

UNESCO and Underwater Cultural Heritage

Research and innovation in Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage at European Maritime Day 2015

Coastal and Maritime Tourism

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