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International Collaboration

Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, Paris, 2001)

Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, Paris, 2001)

The Marine Archaeology Unit in collaboration with the Israeli Foreign Office participated in phrasing and formulating the convention for the protection and preservation of the underwater archaeological heritage in the International Waters of the Mediterranean Sea, together with the representatives of Mediterranean countries under the direction of UNESCO.
The convention acknowledges the importance of underwater cultural heritage as an integral part of the cultural heritage of humanity and a particularly important element in the history of peoples, nations, and their relations with each other concerning their common heritage. The convention realizes the need to codify and progressively develop rules relating to the protection and preservation of underwater cultural heritage in conformity with international law and practice, including the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 14 November 1970, the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 16 November 1972 and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982.


Main Objectives of the convention

The preservation in situ of underwater cultural heritage shall be considered as the first option before allowing or engaging in any activities directed at this heritage; Recovered underwater cultural heritage shall be deposited, conserved and managed in a manner that ensures its long-term preservation; Underwater cultural heritage shall not be commercially exploited; States Parties shall ensure that proper respect is given to all human remains located in maritime waters; Responsible non-intrusive access to observe or document in situ underwater cultural heritage shall be encouraged to create public awareness, appreciation, and protection of the heritage except where such access is incompatible with its protection and management.

The Marine Archaeology Unit has also taken part in tens of international conferences, and has presented underwater discoveries and research in Israel.

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