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International cooperation

In addition to national legislation, the aim is to protect underwater cultural heritage by means of international conventions, guidelines and decrees.

The Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, adopted by the Unesco General Conference in 2001, emphasises the significance of underwater cultural heritage as a part of the shared cultural heritage of peoples and states. According to the central protection principle of the convention, cultural-historical discoveries should primarily be kept where they were discovered. When artefacts or parts are raised from objects during research, the long-term preservation of the cultural heritage should be ensured by means of conservation and administration. The cultural heritage must not be raised from the water to achieve financial gain, and the research material from an object of cultural heritage should not be irreversibly dispersed. The excavation activities directed at underwater cultural heritage should be authorised by an official. In order to promote general knowledge and respect for the objects, responsible non-violating access to the sites should be encouraged, unless it is in particular conflict with the protection activities. International cooperation, research and training support the success of the protection activities.

The National Board of Antiquities is a part of the cooperation between the countries located on the Baltic Sea, which develops means for the protection of underwater cultural heritage. The theme group for underwater cultural heritage has produced guidelines for the unified administration and care for the underwater cultural heritage in the area. The Code of good Practice for the management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Baltic Sea Region (COPUCH) jointly lists the principles adopted for the protection, administration and research of underwater cultural heritage.

ICOMOS’s (International Council of Monuments and Sites) Charter for the Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage draws guidelines for procedures, which are acceptable in terms of archaeology and research.

Finland is a part of the task force of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Working Group of Europae Archaeologiae Consilium (EAC). The primary goal of the EAC is to offer opportunities for cooperation, and support for national protection officials operating in Europe, in issues relating to the administration, care and protection of cultural heritage.
Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage

Code of good Practice for the management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Baltic Sea Region

The thematic BSR Working Group Underwater Heritage

European Archaeological Council


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Last updated 29.10.2015
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