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Regional Seminar on Underwater Heritage, 1st - 4th October 2009
International Centre for Underwater Archaeology, Zadar

as the implementation of the Declaration from the Ministerial Conference A Bridge Towards a Shared Future held in Zadar in 2007.

Time and place of the seminar
1- 4 October 2009, Zadar


- International Centre for Underwater Archaeology, Zadar
- Ministry of Culture of Republic of Croatia

Supported by




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The Seminar is dedicated to the establishment of the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar as an independent institution responsible for the protection of underwater heritage in the Adriatic and Mediterranean. The founder of the ICUA is the Republic of Croatia, and the Centre will operate under the auspices of UNESCO, as a regional Category II Centre.
The main purpose of the ICUA is the professional training of underwater archaeologists and conservation experts at the national and international levels in both theory and practice (this includes professional diving training for archaeologists, historians, geologists, photographers and other conservation experts, professional instructions and additional training for researching underwater archaeological sites and professional training in the field of conservation and restoration), the development of international cooperation concerning scientific research of underwater archaeological sites with the UNESCO member states and associate member states, the exchange of knowledge in the field of underwater archaeology, the organisation of international conferences and workshops, informing the public of its activities in order to raise awareness of the value of underwater cultural heritage. In the following years ICUA is expected to become a centre of excellence for capacity building at regional level. ICUA will also act as a focal point for underwater cultural heritage safeguarding and management in wider region.
Various topics that are of crucial importance for the future work of the Centre will be discussed at the seminar on underwater heritage. In the first place, issues linked to laws and regulations in the concerned countries with emphasis on the implementation of UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. Part of the seminar will be devoted to the description of the implementation of successful projects on the protection of underwater culture heritage in order for the participants to acquire specific new ideas that can be implemented in their countries. These lectures will also encourage discussions on the future scientific and expert cooperation in the research, protection and presentation of underwater sites as well as on the restoration and conservation of movable archaeological finds from the underwater environment.
Considering that the functioning of the Centre is directly linked to international cooperation, we expect the participation of experts – representatives from a large number of countries from South-East Europe and the Mediterranean. We envisage the arrival of representatives from the following countries: Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Moldavia, as well as Hungary, Austria, Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, etc. The representatives of these countries will be asked to present their views and needs in regard to the protection of underwater heritage and their ideas and proposals regarding the future work of ICUA.

The seminar is organised around three topics:

The 1st part of the Seminar
Topic: The ratification and implementation of the UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of Underwater Archaeological Heritage in the countries of the East Mediterranean and South East Europe.
On its 31st session held on 2 November 2001 in Paris UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Archaeological Heritage. The Convention was accepted by the participating countries and its implementation is now pending. Concerning this topic, the participants, representatives of the ministries of culture of the signatory states would presents the results attained regarding this issue and how much the Convention has contributed to the protection of cultural heritage. This topic can be broadened with the issues of the existing laws in particular countries, which have to be adjusted or adopted so that as many states as possible would support the Convention. In addition, other problems that have to be overcome in order for the Convention to be acceptable to as many countries as possible can also be reviewed.

The 2nd part of the Seminar

Topic: The best examples of projects on the protection of underwater cultural goods and examples of international cooperation.
The topic would be initiated with a lecture on the famous international project Apoxyiomenos which was one of the greatest incentives for the foundation of such a centre in the Adriatic. The results and the completion of the project would be presented. The second part of the lecture would be on other projects on the protection of underwater cultural heritage that have been implemented according to highest professional standards, particularly archaeological research. Part of the lecture would be dedicated to examples of in situ underwater cultural heritage protection (protection with cages, underwater parks, inclusion of the local community in the protection, etc.). Topics linked to the keeping of underwater archaeological documentation, archive digitalisation, databases, etc. would also be welcome. Other participants with similar issues from their countries would also participate in the discussion on this topic.
A visit to the Department for Conservation and Restoration of Underwater Archaeological Finds of the Croatian Conservation Institute in Zadar is also envisaged as the practical part of this part of the Seminar. There, the processes and approaches to archaeological finds of various materials (wood, metal ceramics, etc.) would be observed in detail.

The 3rd part of the Seminar
Topic: Future activities of the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology – UNESCO Category II Centre in Zadar; Long-term programme proposals and priorities.
Taking into consideration that ICUA is in the initial stage of its operation, it is necessary to define its purposes through specific agreements on the needs of the countries in the region, based on previous experiences. We expect the experts from the countries of the region to present their priorities and practical proposals for international cooperation. The future activities of the ICUA would be identified in line with the needs of all the countries participating in its work.

Field trips

In addition to the sessions, field trips are also envisaged as part of the Seminar. For now, the possibility of visiting the following locations is under consideration:
- City Museum in Nin with a survey of the Zaton site
- the famous Asseria site (Podgrađe near Benkovac)
- Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Antique Glass
- Museum in Biograd with findings from the Gnalić shipwreck

Framework Programme of the Seminar

The foreseen duration of the seminar is four days:

1st day, Thursday, 1 October 2009
Entire day
– Arrival and reception of the participants
- Short field trip
- Welcoming cocktail

2nd day, Friday, 2 October 2009

– Opening of the Seminar by the Minister of Culture, the representatives of UNESCO, Director of the Centre and session leader, Jasen Mesić
- Plenary session - Informing all the participants on UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage – history, parts, principles and annex
- Discussion on the Convention
- Lunch
- Achievements to date in the protection of underwater heritage

3rd day, Saturday, 3 October 2009

- Survey of works on the restoration and conservation of underwater archaeological finds in the workshop of the Croatian Conservation Institute in Zadar
- Issues on the activities and future of the Centre, proposals for cooperation and experiences of similar institutions
- Lunch
- Field trip
Departure of the participants

4th day, Sunday, 4 October 2009
Morning - departure of the participants