The Necessity of a Common Language for Coastal and Underwater Cultural Heritage
Sorna Khakzad

The lack of a common discoursefor defining of underwater and submerged sites has caused complications in interpretation of anunderwater entity of cultural value as‘moveable objects’ and ‘immoveable sites’ in international debates. This issue has been a topic of discussion since the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea which introduced its notions on salvage and protection of archaeological sites and objects found underwater.And recently, it becamean ongoing issue at UNESCO to nominate underwater entities of heritage values in the World Heritage List. Since being included in the World Heritage List gives more visibility to a site and provides more benefits such as international collaboration for protection, conservation and education, as well as increasing economic benefit due tomore tourism attraction, one of the goals at the UNESCO Secretariat of Underwater Cultural Heritage is to justify, first, that many of entities that WH considers as object are sites, and also to justify that they are eligible to be listed as WH since they encompass the necessary criteria. This paper presents an overview of the existing terms, conventions and clashes among ideas, and will conclude that despite the existing international conventions and several definitions for underwater cultural heritage, still a more lucid terminology and defining methodology is required for the cultural heritage under waterin order to improve our management strategies. The paper will highlight the issues with definition of Underwater Cultural heritage in the 2001 Convention, and states that part of the ongoing complexity with defining ‘site’ and ‘objects’ are due to the not very sharp definition ofUCH in the Convention. In the end this study will recommend a series of terms and methods for classifying sites and objects.

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