Mare Nostrum? Ethics and Archaeology in Mediterranean Waters

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Article Title

Mare Nostrum? Ethics and Archaeology in Mediterranean Waters

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American Journal of Archaeology


Greene, Elizabeth S. and Leidwanger, Justin and Leventhal, Richard M. and Daniels, Brian I.

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AJA Online (Open Access), JSTOR




Abstract: The 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage came into force on 2 January 2009. As of November 2010, the convention has 35 signatories, of which 10 are states that border the Mediterranean Sea. Because the convention has not been universally adopted by all Mediterranean states, underwater cultural heritage in different areas around the Mediterranean is subject to different claims of ownership and interest. We argue here that maritime archaeologists should play an active role in the stewardship and protection of underwater cultural heritage by working to establish ethical guidelines, best practices, and a clear plan of action for research that falls within, but also outside, current national and international legal protections.

Additional tags: underwater archaeology; Mediterranean archaeology; best practices; underwater cultural heritage


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