Our Ocean, our identity

Beneath the surface of the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers of the world lies hidden priceless heritage, which tells us stories about people and their lives throughout the history of humankind. According to UNESCO, Underwater cultural heritage (UCH) is defined as all traces of human existence having a cultural, historical or archaeological character which have been partially or totally under water, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years. This includes underwater sites, structures, buildings, artifacts, vessels, aircraft, or any part thereof, their cargo or other contents, human remains, and objects of prehistoric character together with their archaeological and natural context.

However, UCH is subject to many human threats, including looting, commercial exploitation, and coastal development, as well as natural threats such as pollution, and global warming resulting in changes in sea-level. 

Undoubtedly UCH, particularly shipwrecks, is a valuable resource for the diving industry. However, irresponsible diving activities  can have adverse impacts on such heritage. Hence, sustainable management of UCH is crucial, not only to preserve these finite cultural resources, but also to sustain its economic benefits. Therefore, CMAS developed and implemented its Scientific Diving programs in order to introduce the diving community to the exploration and preservation of UCH. 

Cultural Heritage Projects

Wrecks at Risk, Egypt

Wrecks at Risk, Egypt

While the Red Sea is best known for its coral reefs and close encounters with a great diversity of marine creatures, the Red Sea is also teeming with numerous UCH sites including several 19th and 20th-century wrecks, surrounded by mysteries and adventures. The SS Thistlegorm, the Dunraven, the Giannis D, and the SS Carnatic are among the most famous shipwrecks in the Red Sea, offering divers endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.

Due to the historical, cultural and economic value of these shipwrecks the University of Edinberg and the University of Alexandria, are conducting the Wrecks at Risk Project, which aims to document these wrecks and develop sustainable management plans for these cultural assets. One of the outstanding outcomes of the project is creating 3D digital models and virtual underwater tours for these splendor shipwrecks.

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