2017 – Call for Sessions/Papers


“The Maritime Cultural Landscapes and Seascapes of Asia-Pacific: Voyaging, Migration, Colonisation, Trade, and Cross-Cultural Contacts”

The Asia-Pacific Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage (APCONF) aims to address management and protection strategies of underwater cultural heritage in Asia and the countries of the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the 21st Century. To further these aims, the third regional conference in Hong Kong in November 2017 has selected the above theme to explore, in a more holistic approach, the incredible landscape and seascape that has been developed from thousands of years of human colonisation, migration, trade and cross-cultural contact in the region.

Call for Papers

Abstracts of 300 words (max.) for 20 minute oral presentation on any of the themes outlined below are invited from universities, government agencies, museums, NGOs, IGOs, the private sector and the community concerned with maritime archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage.

The Call for Papers has been extended to April 16, 2017

All submissions should be made to Bill Jeffery (billfjeffery@gmail.com),

Brian Fahy (brian.fahy.arch@gmail.com),

Sila Tripati (sila@nio.org),

Veronica Walker-Vadillo (v.walker.vadillo@gmail.com).

Approved Sessions

  1. Underwater and maritime archaeology and capacity building in the Pacific Islands


Akatsuki Takahashi

UNESCO Office for the Pacific States, Samoa


Andrew Viduka

Maritime and Commonwealth Heritage, Australian Government, Australia


Nicolas Bigourdan

Western Australian Museum, Australia



The Pacific Ocean contains a wealth of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) spanning human history from the Stone Age to the atomic age.  Since the first Pacific UCH Workshop held in Solomon Islands in 2009, the Pacific island nations have been progressing in the implementation of the Pacific UCH Programme by awareness raising, research and capacity building activities through inter-disciplinary cooperation and promoting synergy with the Pacific World Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage Programmes. Notable progresses include, among others, the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Outcome Document of the 3rd UN International Cooperation on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) (Samoa, 2014) that contains references to the importance of UCH for sustainable development of SIDS and SIDS ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001), as well as the enhanced cooperation between universities in the Pacific islands and professional training institutions through UNESCO University Twinning and Networking Programme (UNITWIN) for Underwater Archaeology.

With this as its background, the session “Underwater and maritime archaeology and capacity building in the Pacific Islands” will be held with the aims to: i) share information on recent progress in awareness raising, research and capacity building activities in underwater and maritime archaeology in the Pacific Islands, ii) identify priority actions, iii) foster partnership for regional and international cooperation.  The session especially welcomes presentations focusing on the protection and management of UCH belonging to indigenous community shared UCH in the Pacific, addressing challenges and opportunities facing Pacific SIDS in the implementation of the Pacific UCH Programme and the promotion of the UCH Convention, presenting good practice in ensuring the effective engagement of Pacific island countries and community in UCH management for their sustainable development, and proposing collaborative projects in this area.

  1. Maritime and Underwater Archaeology along the South American Pacific


Carlos Ausejo Castillo, Ma.,

CPAMS – Peruvian Center of Maritime and Underwater Archaeology, Peru



The Pacific has been a central feature in coastal – as well as continental – South Americans’ social lives since their arrival to the continent. Indeed, from early oceanic migrations to the present, the Pacific has served as the facilitator for human expansion, contact, and long distance trade; the rise of complex societies; a space for myth, ritual and contention; also as an important place for the exploitation of natural resources and fisheries; and the development of the modern world-system.

Despite this centrality, the study of human-ocean interactions and coastal ecological histories in Andean South America remains in a nascent phase. New research technologies, theoretical approaches and innovative research projects provide new opportunities to evaluate human-ocean interactions from a long-term perspective.

This session addresses the ways in which the ocean has been central to the manifold ways in which migration, social complexity, native sailing, economic activities, culture contact, colonialism, capitalism and modernity have insinuated themselves through the Pacific Maritime Cultural Landscapes of South America. With the presentation of recent researches conducted in the region, the purpose of this session is to have a better understanding of how the different societies and human maritime communities along South America incorporate the marine and maritime spaces of the Pacific Ocean as part of their Cultural Landscape and Seascape.

  1. Horizontal understanding importance of Early Watercraft invention



Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Slovenia



The creation of early watercraft had a far-reaching significance for navigation and created a new form of human mobility, orientation, and means of networking and communication. This innovation leads to further migration and colonization. This new mobility also assisted in driving the development of other associated conditions like trade, warfare, and politics. Many types of early watercraft can still be found in use around the world.

The great story of water transportation, which is closely linked to man’s traditional coexistence with water and our life in aquatic environments, has a strong symbolic meaning. The vast majority of humanity lives nearseas, lakes, and rivers. In the existing world heritage story of navigation, vessel construction, and watercraft typology, these early watercraft have not yet been given the attention they deserve. They represent the origins of mankind’s navigational tradition, but also show that underneath a simple appearance lies a sophisticated example of design, construction and strong cultural practices.

During the last two centuries, and particularly in the last two decades, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage has advanced worldwide. Cultural tourism is increasing rapidly. The general public has a much greater awareness of these presentations and a higher demand in experiences. Well-preserved and correctly presented cultural heritage is becoming an important tool for obtaining a complete idea of the ways of life of different cultures and communities. Early watercraft must be highlighted to show their unique position in their unique contribution to development of our cultural heritage.

  1. Ceramic trade and cross-cultural exchange from Asian-Pacific region to the world 


Sharon Wong Wai-yee 

Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T. 

Hong Kong 


Atthasit Sukkham 

Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum and School of Humanities and Tourism Management, 

Bangkok University, Phahonyothin Road, Klong Luang District, Pathum Thani, 



Bobby Orillaneda 

The Underwater Archaeology Section, Archaeology Division at the National Museum 

of the Philippines, Manila, the Philippines 



Ceramics are the crucial cultural materials for understanding the cross-cultural exchange from Asian-Pacific region to the world.  This session will discuss how interdisciplinary approaches such as archaeology, art, history, geophysics, and material science can broaden our horizons on the study of ceramic trade and cross-cultural exchange. Second, we will discuss the connection of ceramic trade and exchange between the early age of commerce (c.900-1300 C.E.) and the age of commerce (1450-1680 C.E.) in Southeast Asia and other regions. This established some challenges in ceramic trade including the influence for new creativity and production development, such as in Europe where some trademarks were developed under the Chinese influence. Our goal is to deepen our knowledge on the application of interdisciplinary approaches on the study of ceramic trade and cross-cultural exchange across the two historical periods. 

  1. Ensuring a Sustainable Future for UCH: Museums and Public Engagement


Raphael Igombo

National Museums of Kenya, Kenya


Michelle Damian

Monmouth College (IL), USA



Cultural heritage derives its value from societal contexts, and so public engagement plays an important role in growing support for, and interest in heritage. Engagement may take many forms, from awareness-raising to formal learning programmes to creating platforms for public participation in the process of heritage conservation, governance, and/or interpretation. Papers bridging theoretical and practical approaches to engagement with UCH are particularly welcome, as are papers which offer collaborative and/or participatory models, stakeholder engagement, capacity-building and development, approaches to the particular challenges of engagement with underwater cultural heritage vs other kinds of cultural heritage.

Of course heritage exists in a variety of cultural frameworks, and ensuring sustainability requires approaches to engagement to be both responsive and sensitive to the overlapping cultural contexts in which UCH may exist. As a culturally diverse region, the treatment of heritage must be also tailored to cultural definitions, heritage management frameworks and conventions which may, in some cases, differ across jurisdictions/countries and their interests. The panel will also attempt to explore the ways in which UCH is managed within diverse cultural frameworks, and invites papers to examine topics including contested UCH, ownership, security, etc.

The panel invites papers exploring significance within local, national and transnational historiographies and the implications for funding and management of UCH. UCH includes material that has been deposited on the seabed as a result of warfare and catastrophe, so papers which explore and/or engage with topics including loss, warfare, conflicted significance and contested heritage are particularly welcome.

Other relevant sub-themes include:

* Public engagement in the management of UCH

* Interpreting maritime cultural heritage for non-specialist audiences

* Significance, interpretative potential, stakeholders and support/sustainability

* Museums, Education, Outreach and Conservation

* Memory, memorials and memorialisation

  1. Iran’s Maritime Cultural Landscape


Hossien Tofighian

Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism (RICHT), Iran


Ramin Adibi  

Higher Institute of Marlik University, Iran



The country of Iran benefits from having a long coastline. Sea spaces and coastlines were attractive settlements for humans throughout history. These extensive maritime landscapes have resulted in interactions between human and sea along the northern (Caspian Sea) and southern (Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman) coastlines of Iran.  Iran’s rivers and lakes contain a great deal of evidence of human habitation and interaction. Due to the country’s long history of maritime culture, we can also observe sea effects on coastal communities in Iran. Maritime archaeological studies in Iran, however, are at a  nascent stage.

In the 1990’s, a small group of archaeologists from the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR) investigated in the north of Persian Gulf to decode its unknown history. In 2000, the first coherent and planned activities of that group produced the “Underwater Surveys around the shores of Siraf Port in Bushehr Province”. After that, the team surveyed “Bandar-e Rig”  (Rig port), Portuguese castles in Siraf port, Southern Shores of the Bushehr Peninsula in the Persian Gulf. The team has worked on sites from “Shushtar’s Band-e Mizan” (Shushtar barrier), “Takht-e Suleiman” Lake, and the Amir Abad and “Zaghmarz” shipwrecks; the “Tammīsheh and Gorgān” Underwater Walls, and the “Ghorogh” and “Rudsar” shipwrecks. These projects were published in Persian by a domestic magazine. The team then prepared and distributed a booklet titled of “Iran, Underwater Cultural Heritage and It’s Share in Maritime Archeological Studies” for the annual meeting of States Parties of The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in 2016. Next, UNESCO and ICHTO held “Training Workshop on Underwater Archaeology with a Focus on the UNESCO 2001 Convention” in Iran. These activities are continuing and we hope for some continued progress in maritime archaeological studies and international cooperation.

  1. History and Current Trends of Underwater Archaeology around East Asia


Akifumi Iwabuchi

Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan                   


Kotaro Yamafune                                   

APPARATUS, LLC, Japan                       



East Asia is extremely rich in underwater cultural heritage, such as conventional shipwrecks under the sea, submerged settlement sites on the bottoms of inland lakes and rivers, or prehistoric shell mounds along coastal zones.  For instance, the medieval or post-medieval wrecks and their cargos have recently been discovered one after another in the waters, as the underwater cultural heritage or seascape of stone tidal weir is a common cultural trait to the Ryukyu archipelago, western Japan, southern Korea, mainland China, and Formosa, which surround the East China Sea or a northern part of the Asian Mediterranean. No East Asian nation has ratified the UNESCO 2001 Convention, partly because it does not exactly correspond with oriental philosophy, it does not properly resolve the controversial issues upon sovereign immunity of warship wrecks, and so forth.  Occasionally, the principle of preservation in situ in the convention has not been the first choice as Asian waters have poor water clarity generally.  Nevertheless, each country has already moved forward with its own underwater archaeological policies and projects both at  governmental and grassroots levels.  Some activities are in close cooperation with foreign institutions or universities.  

In East Asia, document-based historical study or terrestrial archaeology has a long tradition, which has had a noteworthy impact upon underwater archaeology and its methodology.  Even in this region as well as in other Pacific areas, contrariwise,  remarkable technological advancement in underwater survey has been made recently; using remote-sensing with satellites, robotics for ROVs or AUVs, or 3D photogrammetry by computer software mitigates or cancels the limitations regarding accessibility and working time caused by underwater environment.  The tie between such modern technologies and archaeology has minted new applications and perspectives of underwater cultural heritage study.  The multi-disciplinary or holistic approaches are increasingly necessary among Asian researchers.                    

  1. Underwater Cultural Heritage Politics, Laws, Ethics and Values


Elena Perez-Alvaro

Licit Cultural Heritage Ltd., UK



All cultural materials are potentially cultural resources. However, because not all of them can be preserved or studied, choices must be made based on evaluation and re-evaluation. Values are learned and depend on cultural, intellectual, historical, and psychological frames of reference. Consequently, valuation is made individually, but is shared by communities. Valuation of underwater cultural heritage has, then, a broad range of determining value depending on the community to which it belongs.

A clear example of this is the protection of human remains. The 2001 UNESCO Convention includes, in its definition of underwater cultural heritage, human remains which have been underwater for more than 100 years. However, the Christian philosophy on the treatment of human remains is different to that of Asian philosophy that teaches that human remains will never become underwater cultural heritage since, if they are seen by someone in an underwater site, it is imperative to rescue the human remains and bury them on land according to their beliefs.

This session aims to create a forum for policymakers, managers, and archaeologists devoted to underwater cultural heritage where they can share their experiences of and research on the valuation of underwater cultural heritage. We aim to accept papers that help us to understand the definition of ‘underwater cultural heritage’ in the Asia-Pacific regions, comparing those definitions with the definition of the 2001 UNESCO Convention and trying to find a common interpretation. We will also be looking to examine the meaning of the underwater cultural heritage sites and objects for different communities. Finally, we will be expecting papers exploring the different possibilities of the use and/or conservation of this underwater cultural heritage according to the values and needs of the different communities.

  1. Together we share, together we care: cooperation to help protect Underwater Cultural Heritage


Steven Gallagher

Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Abhiradaot Komoot

University of Western Australia, Australia



State cooperation is the only key to guarantee the comprehensive safeguarding of Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH). The UNESCO 2001 Convention has set a general guideline for a cooperation system that the Convention encourages all states to apply. The core aim of this Convention and the guideline of cooperation is to fight against the improper treatment of such heritage by means of commercial exploitation and illicit trafficking.

However, for practical effect, this cooperation to fight the improper treatment of UCH by commercial exploitation and illicit trafficking depends on the readiness of laws and policies in each state and state-party. At present there are diverse standards and values of UCH. To encourage cooperation in the protection of UCH around the world requires interdisciplinary and hybrid approaches to better understand different attitudes, inequality of capacity, economic potentials, geographic differences and so forth.

In reality, besides state practices, there is a wide range of stakeholders such as cultural enterprises, international law enforcement, universities and individuals working alongside local government agencies. This panel, therefore, aims to provide a public platform to discuss the extent  to which cooperation can help protect UCH on institutional and non-institutional levels. It welcomes all researchers whose work incorporates public and private sectors to share their experiences and knowledge with regard to the protection and management of UCH as a whole.

  1. Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage Sites and Conservation of Wet Archaeological Materials


Vicki Richards

PhD candidate, University of WA


Jon Carpenter

Western Australian Museum, Australia


Mi Young Cha

National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage

Republic of Korea



This session will focus on in-situ preservation and conservation management issues, conservation analyses and treatments, and applied conservation research of archaeological materials from underwater cultural heritage sites. The main purpose of this session is  to encourage the exchange of ideas and practices as well as to encourage the development of conservation networks throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Presentations, posters and workshops are invited that address any of the following areas:

  • In situ preservation of underwater cultural heritage sites, including reburial practices
  • Conservation management of underwater cultural heritage sites, including on-site monitoring
  • Conservation treatment case studies
  • Research into the analysis and treatment of wet archaeological materials
  • Review of the status of wet archaeological conservation programs in the Asia Pacific region
  • Development of collaborative conservation research and treatment programs
  1. Maritime/Underwater Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia


Nia Naelul Hasanah Ridwan

Research Institute for Coastal & Marine Resources & Vulnerability, Indonesia



Southeast Asia (SEA) has been rich in maritime and underwater cultural heritage (UCH) over a long  period,  from ancient pre-history, through the age of commerce, into the World War II era. Recently, UCH research, survey, and mapping activities; preservation and management efforts; as well as human capacity building programs show the promising progress in SEA countries. However, various threats to UCH preservation and some shortcomings still can be found in many SEA countries, for instance, lack of funds, inadequate technology, limited human resources, and also lack of public and government attention to UCH legal protection and its long term preservation.    

This session will highlight some topics, including current status of UCH preservation; current research or investigation on maritime heritage or UCH in SEA countries; maritime history in SEA; current legislations; recent human and natural threats to UCH in SEA countries; raising awareness and public education programs; in-situ preservation of UCH; sustainable shipwreck tourism development and balancing preservation efforts with economic benefit; community and general public engagement in UCH management plan; regional capacity building in Southeast Asia; as well as collaboration opportunities among stakeholders and SEA countries in researching, protecting, preserving, and managing UCH sites.

  1. Underwater and maritime archaeology in South Asia (The Indian Ocean Region)


Sila Tripati

CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, India



The underwater cultural heritage (UCH) of the Indian Ocean ranges from the Prehistoric period to the last century. Most of the Indian Ocean Rim countries have taken keen interest in preserving UCH by undertaking explorations of shipwrecks, submerged ports, habitation, landscape, aircraft, etc., lying on the seabed and in inshore regions, besides promoting awareness programmes, research and capacity building activities on their own and with other countries through inter-disciplinary cooperation. Some countries of this region have ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Moreover, the UNESCO had organized the Foundation Training Course on Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific region to train the professionals of this region. Now professionals of individual countries are extending cooperation to the universities and research institutes to  promote awareness on the UCH as well as Underwater Archaeology.

With this background, the proposed session – Underwater and maritime archaeology in South Asia (The Indian Ocean Region) – intends to build cooperation among the Indian Ocean countries on research, protection and preservation of UCH, documentation of evidence of indigenous communities, and capacity building activities in underwater and maritime archaeology of this region. In this session it is proposed to invite presentations on the research carried out on (i) underwater and maritime archaeology of this region, (ii) problems, challenges and opportunities faced by the Indian Ocean Region on UCH, (iii) collaboration on research and capacity building in this field.

  1. Amphibian Warfare in the Asia-Pacific region


Mark Fissel

Augusta University, USA


Veronica Walker Vadillo

Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, UK



With the development and improvement of water transport, rivers, lakes, and oceans have been increasingly colonised by humans and exploited for economic purposes. Many studies have been conducted on the establishment, use, and modification of transport routes, focusing mostly on the economic aspect that is usually associated with these networks. However, competition for resources leads to friction, and friction generates conflict. Amphibious (or ‘combined’ or ‘joint’) operations in Asia-Pacific have been documented in various periods of time. From the Chola attack on Srivijaya in the 11th century AD to the fluvial battles depicted in the bas-reliefs of Angkor, it seems clear that the ability to undertake such operations was an important quality for embryonic military establishments; and attempts to carry them out shaped the pattern of many conflicts.

Focused particularly on the impact of the geography and the environment of the region, this panel aims to examine the organisation, conduct, and purpose of amphibious warfare in Asia-Pacific. That is, it examines a form of warfare which usually takes place on coasts, whether of continents or islands, but which sometimes takes place on inland waterways—a form of warfare in which land-based and waterborne forces cooperate, whether against a similar conjunction of forces, or against a solely land- or water-based enemy.

We would like to invite papers that look particularly at the effect of climate, environment, and geography on the establishment of power landscapes or battlefields. Other themes we would also like to explore are changes in nautical technology and the militarization of vessels.

  1. The study of traditional boat technology: complementary approaches to maritime archaeology (maritime ethnography, archival research, iconography studies, museum collections etc.)


Charlotte Minh Ha Pham

Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Australia


Ligaya Lacsina

Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division, National Museum of the Philippines,




In addition to archaeology, and maritime archaeology in particular, a wide range of source material is available to those studying ancient boat technology. Maritime ethnographic surveys, ethno-historic boat studies, historical enquiries, archival repositories, iconographies, and boat models in museum collections are examples of complementary sources that the maritime archaeologist can consult. This session proposes to gather various research projects that explore ancient boat technology, based on archaeology as well as other source materials. This session’s objective is thus to include multidisciplinary approaches to research that draw from a variety of sources. On one hand, this session will offer a panorama of different boatbuilding traditions from the Asia-Pacific region; on the other hand it will highlight the high potential of other source material.

Secondly, this session aims to offer a platform of discussion to explore the meaning of “traditional boatbuilding”. It will show the great variety of “traditional boatbuilding” in the Asia-Pacific region and thus the need to define “tradition” with more precision. “Traditional boatbuilding” is disappearing rapidly, along with precious local knowledge on maritime aspects of culture. There is an urgent need to record and document these traditions and knowledge, and to develop means by which to use the data effectively for learning about the Asia-Pacific’s maritime past.

In sum, this session will contribute to the discussion of boatbuilding traditions in the Asia-Pacific region by exploring evidence derived from archaeological evidence while discussing the quality and value of other source materials in adding to the understanding of these traditions. Approaching boatbuilding from such a broad perspective will undoubtedly contribute to revealing aspects of the maritime cultural landscapes and seascapes of the Asia-Pacific.

  1. The Archaeology of Manila Galleons, Past, Present and Future


Roberto Junco

INAH Mexico, Mexico


Bobby Orillaneda

National Museum of the Philippines, Philippines



This session will focus on a specific part of the rich maritime history of the Asia Pacific region, the Manila Galleons. These ships traversed between continents surrounding the Pacific, transporting goods from India and China to Peru and Spain via New Spain, for 250 years, changing the cultural landscape of South East Asia and America, transforming cultures, peoples, technology, spreading ideas, plants and customs, among many other significant processes. This session explores the archaeological work done to date in regard to these ships and the work being done now in several parts of the world. Furthermore, the session will explore the future ways in which this topic can contribute to present societies. In regard to past works, papers from the excavations done on the Concepcion in the Mariana Islands, and the San Diego in the Philippines are a good opportunity for archaeologists that worked decades ago to present part of that research in a new light as well as present work not yet available to researchers.

Current works from the Philippines, Spain, Japan, USA, and Mexico will be presented. In this part of the session, interesting points of contact between projects and researchers will be encouraged. Different methodologies and research strategies will help projects see their strong points and adapt new ones. Trade, nautical archaeology, among other topics can be presented. Current works will demonstrate that the topic is very much alive and growing.

Papers on future research objectives can contribute to map the road ahead, looking at different lines of inquiry related to the Galleons.

Above all, the session seeks to make this research topic a celebration of diversity and common heritage that brings people together in our common cultural traits and admiration for our differences. The session will bring interested researchers together to collaborate in the diverse projects.

  1. Beyond the South China Sea: Cross-regional studies of maritime communities


Linda Hulin

Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, UK


Veronica Walker Vadillo

Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, UK



The history of Southeast Asia is marked by the strong maritime networks that were established since prehistoric times within the boundaries of mainland Southeast Asia, island Southeast Asia, and southern China. These connections, which extended beyond their barriers to reach Far East Asia and India, had the South China sea as its nodal hub for trade networks.

Similar maritime hubs developed in other regions of the world, like the Mediterranean, the Baltic and North Seas, the South Pacific, or the East China Sea. Ongoing research in these areas have produced solid theoretical frameworks and relevant case studies that can be of great use for the study of Southeast Asian maritime communities. Westerdahl’s concept of the Maritime Cultural Landscape brewed on the shores of the Bothnian gulf in the Baltic sea, but this theoretical framework is now applied in many regions of the world. In the Mediterranean, Braudel’s conceptualization of the northern and southern shores as a single entity has often been used to define the boundaries of Southeast Asia by researchers such as Manguin or Reid. These examples show that finding common ground with researchers studying maritime cultural clusters can result in the cross-pollination of ideas and methods.

This panel seeks to bring together case studies from across these regions to generate debate that will help to further develop the theoretical framework of maritime archaeology in Southeast Asia. We encourage the submission of papers with clear theoretical approaches or analytical frameworks that may be replicated in other maritime clusters.

  1. World War Underwater Cultural Heritage in Asia-Pacific


Bill Jeffery

University of Guam, Guam


Hans Van Tilburg

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, USA



The Asia Pacific region contains nearly 4,000 shipwrecks and thousands of aircraft related to World War II. There are also a number of sites associated with World War I to be found in this region. The sites and associated histories, combined with the many terrestrial war heritage are a tangible and intangible reminder of the tragic nature of war. As part of their historical values, this heritage is valued and used in many commemorative services. It is also valued economically through the thousands of tourists that visit the sites and dive the shipwrecks. The sites also contain material (both on land and underwater) such as unexploded ordinance, leaking chemicals from munitions, and oil that has the ‘potential’ to damage the sites, harm visitors, and impact the marine environment.

Local people throughout the region have a number of different perspectives on these sites. They went through terrible suffering during the war, and in some cases they do not value the sites in the same way as the war protagonists. Site management which relies on the good will of local people, and local legislation and management systems may not be that effective. Recent cases of the salvage of World War II sites unbeknown to local governments highlights to some degree these different values. Effective management in maintaining the historic, archaeological and social nature of sites needs to be relevant and beneficial to local people as well as the international community.

This session calls for papers that will consider a broad discussion on site and intangible heritage values, and the relevance and benefits of researching and managing World War sites in the Asia-Pacific region.

18. Underwater Cultural Heritage and Maritime Trade


Jiang Bo                                                                                                                                                                              Archaeological Institute, National Center of Underwater Cultural Heritage, China                             



In the past decades, Chinese archaeologists’ exploration has yielded numbers of important discoveries in South China Sea, including the Nanhai I Shipwreck, Huaguang Reef I Shipwreck, and the Nan’ao I Shipwreck etc. At the same time, In Southeast Asian region, rich underwater cultural heritages have attracted world-wide attention because of the impressive finds. Among these finds, the Vung Tau Shipwreck, the Royal Nanhai Shipwreck, the Singtai shipwreck, the Belitung Shipwreck etc.., can be viewed as representative examples.

These shipwrecks are believed to be merchant vessels made in China, Arab and Southeast Asia respectively. Their cargos are assemblage products of China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia etc. Abundant underwater archaeology achievements have revealed large-scale maritime trade between China and Southeast Asia to a great extent.

It is believed that maritime trade had thrived and stimulated societal changes in terms of religion, economy and culture in the area along maritime shipping routes. Furthermore, it is the maritime trade that greatly facilitated the process of social transformation in Southeast Asia. This panel aims to reconstruct the history of a broad region along the maritime shipping routes based on mass underwater cultural heritage analysis and further discuss the causes that spurred these human activities historically. Underwater materials could be quite inspirational for the studies of underwater archaeology, maritime shipping routes, trade goods, shipbuilding techniques and so on.