Underwater Heritage along the Silk Roads

Malta Shipwreck © Erik Hausted Larsson / Shutterstock

The aim of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage is to enable states to protect their submerged heritage as cultural treasures of humanity. The 2001 Convention is widely recognized as the foremost document in the fields of setting ethics, providing legal site protection, and establishing scientific guidelines for activities directed at submerged heritage.

Learn more about Underwater Cultural Heritage and the UNESCO 2001 Convention.

Throughout history many of the ships travelling the maritime Silk Roads were wrecked and now lie on the seabed as important sources of historic information. The remains of sunken cities, port structures, and shipwrecks qualify as underwater cultural heritage protected by the UNESCO 2001 Convention. They embody a magnificent heritage with great, but as yet under used, potential for research, education and tourism. Today, these scientifically valuable sites are highly threatened by extensive treasure-hunting and industrial operations with sites destroyed daily.

The Silk Roads online platform has compiled the underwater heritage of the maritime Silk Routes.

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Underwater Heritage along the Silk Roads

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UNESCO Headquarters

7 Place de Fontenoy

75007 Paris, France

Social and Human Sciences Sector

Research, Policy and Foresight Section

Silk Roads Programme