Anderson on the looming underwater heritage struggle

The "Philosopher of Anthykera", a 3rd Century BCE bronze head discovered near the Anthykera shipwreck.
The “Philosopher of Anthykera”, a 3rd Century BCE bronze head discovered near the Anthykera shipwreck.

Max Anderson has written an insightful op-ed highlighting the coming tension between commerce and archaeological examination for underwater sites and wrecks:

The technology needed for deep-sea exploration is advancing rapidly. What once seemed like science fiction will soon become a reality, with exploratory probes not only transmitting images but operating retrieval devices equipped to reveal artifacts and move them to the surface. Archaeologists have also begun using DNA analysis on wrecks in the Mediterranean, yielding information ranging from what onboard bowls once contained to the home port of the sunken ship.

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Student Note on Underwater Heritage in the Dominican Republic

A small bell taken by Global  Marine Exploration found off the coast of the Dominican Republic
A small bell taken by Global Marine Exploration found off the coast of the Dominican Republic

Lydia Barbash-Riley, a student and Editor-in-Chief of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies has an interesting piece examining the impact of globalization on underwater cultural heritage management in the Dominican Republic:

This Note addresses the management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) in the Dominican Republic as a case study of the effects of two aspects of globalization on cultural and environmental resource management in the developing world: the international convergence of values and the horizontal delegation of state power to private actors due to economic constraints. This Note posits that even as the global community of states moves toward a consensus on the ethical management of the UCH, this convergence combined with the global trend of horizontal delegation may incentivize some lesser-developed countries to deal with the economic pressures of resource management by permitting treasure hunting. To examine this phenomenon, this Note addresses national and international laws protecting the UCH, including Dominican laws and their actual consistency with the 2001 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. It then discusses how management in the Dominican Republic is not always in accord with either the country’s own laws or the 2001 Convention to illustrate both the impacts of globalization on management of the UCH when government resources are scarce, and the resulting need for an extralegal, community-based solution. This Note concludes with a suggestion that the Dominican government, Dominican communities, and international actors consider a variant of Common-Pool Resource Management known as Living Museums in the Sea incorporated into a Multilevel Environmental Governance framework as a potential solution to counteract the economic pressures on governments to allow treasure hunting while providing for long-term preservation of the UCH in this and other developing countries.

  1. Lydia Barbash-Riley, Using a Community-Based Strategy to Address the Impacts of Globalization on Underwater Cultural Heritage Management in the Dominican Republic, 22 Ind. J. of Global Legal Stud. 201 (2015).