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To Read More

As shipwrecks are inaccessible to most, publication of new research is the primary avenue for advancing the field of underwater archaeological heritage. There are a number of journals specializing in this subject, the best known of which is the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. Research institutes dedicated to marine archaeology and organizations that sponsor related research often post field reports on ongoing excavations and other new information on their websites.

Publications are also a key resource to explore the debates surrounding underwater cultural heritage. The enormous public appeal of shipwrecks and their remains and the critical importance of underwater cultural heritage to world history have led to a great deal of popular literature on the subject, as well as to ongoing discussion in the press about the issues involved. The following articles present a selection of recent writings, reflecting a variety of viewpoints about how best to preserve underwater cultural heritage.

Babits, L.E./H. van Tilburg. Maritime Archaeology: A Reader of Substantive and Theoretical Contributions. The Plenum Series in Underwater Archaeology (New York/London, 1998).

Bass, George F. "The Men Who Stole the Stars." Sea History, Fall 1979: 30. (PDF, 240kb)

Booth, Forrest. "The Collision of Property Rights and Cultural Heritage: the Salvors' and Insurers' Viewpoints," Barbara T. Hoffman, ed. Art and Cultural Heritage: Law, Policy and Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2006: 293–99.

Delgado, J. Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1997.

Elia, R. J. "The Ethics of Collaboration: Archaeologists and the Whydah Project." Historical Archaeology 26(4), 1992: 105–17.

Elia, R. J. "U.S. Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage beyond the Territorial Sea: Problems and Prospects." International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 29 (2000): 43–56.

Flecker, Michael. "The Ethics, Politics, and Realities of Maritime Archaeology in Southeast Asia." International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 31(1), 2002. (PDF)

Grenier, Nutley and Cochran. Underwater Cultural Heritage at Risk: Managing Natural and Human Impacts (Paris: International Council on Monuments and Sites [ICOMOS], 2006).

Guerin, Ulrike, Barbara Egger, and Vidha Penalva, ed. Underwater Cultural Heritage in Oceania. UNESCO, 2010. (PDF, 6MB)

Illsley, J.S. An Indexed Bibliography of Underwater Archaeology. The International Maritime Archaeology Series 3 (Oswestry, 1996).

Johnston, Paul. "Treasure Salvage, Archaeological Ethics and Maritime Museums." International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 22(1), 1993, 53–60. (PDF, 1 MB)

Kingsley, Sean, Filipe Castro, Devid Beerman, John Kimball, Greg Stemm, James Sinclair, and Daniel De Narvaaez. Underwater Cultural Heritage & UNESCO in New Orleans: An Introduction. Odyssey Papers 13, 2010. (PDF, 811kb)

Luxford, Derek. "Finders Keepers Losers Weepers—Myth or Reality? An Australian Perspective on Historic Shipwrecks," Barbara T. Hoffman, ed. Art and Cultural Heritage: Law, Policy and Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2006: 300–7.

Pope, Frank. "The Sad Wreck of our Maritime Heritage." The Times. September 6, 2008. Accessed February 7, 2011.

Vadi, Valentina Sara. "Investing in Culture: Underwater Cultural Heritage and International Investment Law." Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 42:3 (2009), 853–904. (PDF, 389kb)

submerged pot

Submerged underwater for centuries, this storage jar eventually became an integral part of a coral formation. Photo by M. Flecker.

The Freer|Sackler is closed for renovation and reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Join us for our reopening celebration on October 14–15, 2017.