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Objectives

In order to achieve the project’s immediate objective, the project is expected to deliver the following results:

  • Professional training: The first objective of the project is the establishment of a permanent Asia-Pacific regional field facility and programme of instruction for training in the protection and management of the underwater cultural heritage. The purpose of this facility or “field school” is to provide professional training in field techniques applicable to the conservation and management of underwater archaeological sites, accessible to present and future responsible managers of that heritage. The goal is to develop a new regional corps of trained managers of the underwater heritage, where minimal management expertise now exists. The training will consist of both theoretical and practical training courses, which will include but not limited to in the following fields:

    • (1) underwater archaeological site inventory and mapping;

    • (2) non-invasive techniques of underwater archaeological site identification, inventory and investigation;

    • (3) modern methods of maritime archaeological site  conservation;

    • (4) strategies and techniques for preserving artefacts removed from underwater environment;

    • (5) museology techniques, including both storage and display aspects; and

    • (6) site monitoring and protection. Trainees will also receive classroom training in the practical application of the 2001 Convention.

  • Protection of Underwater Archaeological Sites: Trainees are introduced to methodologies of underwater archaeological investigation utilizing non-invasive technologies, through actual on-site field work. The purpose of such fieldwork is to gather the necessary in situ information about the underwater archaeological sites to allow for necessary action to be taken to protect the sites from looters and from other dangers (fishing activities and natural disasters, such as tsunami which recently devastated Galle).

  • Promotion of Conservation Standards: Trainees are instructed in international professional standards in conserving underwater archaeological sites which need to be incorporated into the conservation practice of responsible national government agencies of participating Member States. The application of the provisions of the Annex to the 2001 Convention are particularly stressed.

  • Monitoring the State of Conservation of Underwater Archaeological Sites: Trainees are  taught techniques for underwater archaeological site monitoring, using modern management tools and ICT techniques. The purpose of this activity is to monitor the state of conservation of underwater archaeological sites in a pro-active way, in order to identify the most endangered sites and to direct conservation action to endangered sites before they are destroyed or removed by treasure hunters.

  • Training-the-Trainers: Upon completion of the advanced training course, trainees are expected to become trainers in their own right upon returning to their home services.

  • Enhanced regional cooperation on conserving and managing shared heritage resources contribution to social cohesion and peace: The project  promotes regional cooperation through exchange of information on the conservation and management of shared heritage – the underwater cultural heritage. Moreover, the project aims to  strengthen communication and networking among participating Member States of the Asia Pacific region to combat the looting of underwater archaeological sites by treasure hunters. Regional cooperation can be initiated with the establishment of a regional database with limited access, containing information on competent authorities, experts involved in the protection of the underwater cultural heritage, training courses on underwater cultural heritage and related sciences, and existing databases on underwater cultural heritage.

  • Enhanced public awareness: The project  promotes the regional capacity building programme through media exposure (broadcast, print and on-line) of its activities, particularly on the training programmes and other related activities. An exhibit on underwater cultural heritage, with emphasis on the principles of the 2001 Convention and its Annex, was held from August to September 2010 at the Siam Ocean World Bangkok. The exhibit has become a part of the permanent exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Chanthaburi, Thailand.

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