International Seminar on Maritime Cultural Heritage

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Alexandria Library – 3rd – 4th April 2010

On the 3rd & 4th of April 2010, the Bibliotheca Alexandrian hosted an International Seminar on Maritime Cultural Heritage which was organized by the Alexandria University, the University of Southampton, the British Museum and European Commission TEMPUS program. The seminar was held on the occasion of concluding the TEMPUS Joint European Project to create the Alexandria Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage at the AlexandriaUniversity. The two and half year project aimed to establish a specialised centre for postgraduate studies which provides education and training, at different levels, in aspects of maritime archaeology and underwater cultural heritage. It has developed and implemented new postgraduate Diploma and Master programmes in Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage.

The main themes of the seminar were preservation, presentation and education in Maritime Archaeology. The seminar aimed to provide opportunities for institutions to address issues of coastal heritage management, to encourage capacity building in the region and to establish networks of contact to support and inform with regard future initiatives and challenges. Over the two days of the seminar 25 papers were presented by speakers representing 15 countries: (Australia,Bahrain, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Kenya, Libya Morocco, Somaliland, Tunisia, UK & USA). The seminar was divided into three sessions. The first day was dedicated to Management and Preservation, the second day was dedicated to Outreach, Presentation and Museums, and the final session to Education.

 Issues which were discussed under Management and Preservation included The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in addition to a number of heritage management cases from the Mediterranean, the UK, the Gulf, North and East Africa. Under Outreach, Presentation and Museums the subjects presented included the role of the media in the protection of underwater cultural heritage, public education in maritime archaeology as well as exhibits and museum displays of archaeological material of a maritime nature. Finally, the Education session included presentations about academic and training programs offered by universities and institutions in the USA, UK, Cyprus and Australia.

The International Seminar on Maritime Cultural Heritage brought together scholars and professionals concerned with Maritime Cultural Heritage from different parts of the world. Through the discussions that took place during and after the sessions the diversity of problems which are affecting maritime archaeological sites in different regions was realised. Also the great potential for collaboration between maritime archaeologists in different regions, became evident.

One major aspect of collaboration that was discussed during the seminar was capacity building in maritime archaeology and coastal heritage protection, particularly in countries with a recent interest in the field such as African and Arab countries. In that respect, the Alexandria Centre for Maritime Archaeology & Underwater Cultural Heritage was conceived as a focal point for providing education and training to archaeologists from the MENA region.

The International Seminar on Maritime Cultural Heritage brought into focus some of the critical issues facing maritime archaeologists at present. It provided a forum for discussing different aspects related to the preservation, presentation and education in Maritime Cultural Heritage as well as for sharing and exchanging experience and expertise between different professionals and institutions.

Dr. Lucy Blue, Centre for Maritime Archaeology, School of Humanities,University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 6861. Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 3032. E-mail:
Dr. Emad Khalil, Centre for Maritime Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, AlexandriaUniversity, Hussein Sobhi Street, El-Shatbi 21526, Alexandria, Egypt. Tel: +2 03 487 5735. Fax: +2 03 487 3088.  E-mail:
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