Heritage Under Threat

Our heritage is continuously under threat of damage or destruction by environmental and human action. 

Historic England recently stated that "The marine and inter-tidal zones are dynamic and have always undergone natural environmental change and changing patterns of use and exploitation which are nothing new.

The coastline has always been subject to change, whether settlements and harbours have been eroded and lost to the sea, as at Dunwich in Suffolk, or have silted up and are now located inland, for example on the Sussex coast. 

This process is continuous and is also affected by patterns of extreme weather which can reveal new wreck archaeology, result in damage to known wreck sites, or even create new forms of wreck.

Coastal surveys and the techniques of marine archaeology lead to a greater understanding of the character of the local marine historic environment and how it is affected by these processes". (Historic England website, accessed July 2018).

Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) believes "that underwater cultural heritage faces a wide array of threats and negative impacts that endanger its preservation. Ever since Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan invented the aqualung in 1942-43, allowing the reach of greater depths for scientists and archaeologists, but also for treasure hunters and salvage explorers, underwater cultural heritage is increasingly accessible. Since then, looting of the underwater archaeological sites and destruction of their contexts have increased rapidly and threaten to deprive humanity of this heritage"  (UNESCO website, accessed July 2018).

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