Endangered maritime cultural heritage
LUCY BLUE, PhD
DEPARTMENT OF ARCHAEOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON, UK
Maritime cultural heritage is under threat! Many sites in the coastal and near shore zone are being lost faster than we can record them. This paper briefly reviews the nature of threat, anthropogenic and environmental, before addressing through ongoing projects, ways in which research and capacity building can help counter the effects of threat.
Documentation is key and the Maritime Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa (MarEA) project reveals ways that baseline documentation and working with local partners can help quantify the nature of the resource and the degree of threat. The community-based, maritime ethnographic project in Bagamoyo, Tanzania - Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu (Our Ocean, Our Heritage) – outlines the diverse and rich nature of living maritime cultural heritage and how co-creation can help sustain both livelihoods and cultural practise. Finally, the work of the Honor Frost Foundation that supports maritime archaeological research, capacity and education in the eastern Mediterranean, highlights how working on multiple levels to enhance resources and visibility of maritime cultural heritage and can help drive change and underpin regional, self-sustaining stewardship.
In the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 – 2030) it is imperative that heritage is placed centre stage in the battle for holistic protection of our seas and oceans.
Dr Lucy Blue is a maritime archaeologist who has worked for almost thirty years in the eastern Mediterranean and beyond, conducting maritime archaeological survey and excavations on the coast and underwater. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Southampton, Centre for Maritime Archaeology and since 2016 the Maritime Archaeological Director of the Honor Frost Foundation. Her doctoral research focused upon the study of Bronze Age harbours and maritime routes of trade in the eastern Mediterranean. Thereafter, she extended her interest to include harbours of the Greco-Roman period in Egypt and the Red Sea. Dr Blue is also active in maritime ethnographical research particularly traditional boats and communities of the western Indian Ocean. Her interests in developing capacity in the field of maritime archaeology lead her to help set up the Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage within the University of Alexandria, Egypt, the first of its kind in the Arab world. In 2010 she established the ‘Maritime Archaeology Stewardship Trust’ which aims to promote maritime archaeology and coastal heritage management in the Arab world. She currently co-directs the Endangered Maritime Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project (MarEA). Dr Blue is also an experienced documentary presenter for the BBC.