News and Events
A Report on the Current State of Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in China
发布日期:2012-11-23 浏览次数: 字号:[ ]

  China is a great nation with vast sea areas and rich underwater cultural heritage resources. The Chinese Government attaches vital importance to protection of underwater cultural heritage and consequently, initial progress has been made in this regard.

  1. Extensive surveys launched so as to have a clear picture of China’s underwater cultural heritage resources.

  Special surveys have been conducted in coastal areas where underwater objects are densely distributed, such as Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan, in an attempt to gather information about how underwater objects are distributed and preserved and to provide scientific basis for protection work in the future. Surveys on underwater cultural objects were conducted between 2009 and 2010, as part of the Third Nationwide Surveys on Cultural Heritage. Up to 100 locations of underwater cultural property have been identified and much information gathered. Based on the surveys, two underwater archaeological sites with significant values have been proclaimed as key heritage sites under state-level protection and greater efforts will be made to better protect them.

  2. Key sunken ships salvaged in a timely manner as an effort to promote continuously the level for protection and study of underwater heritage.

  Based on surveys on underwater cultural property, efforts have been made to salvage such ancient sunken ships as Huaguang Reef No. 1 in Xisha Islands, Nan Hai No. 1 and Nan Ao No. 1 in Guangdong Province. Combining the salvage and protection of Nan Hai No.1 and Nan Ao No. 1, many projects of underwater cultural heritage are launched, and technology and methodology for underwater cultural heritage conservation are actively explored. The study about maritime silk road, about the history of foreign maritime trade, of shipbuilding, of navigation and of ceramic, the application for maritime silk road as World Cultural Heritage, and the related academic research are all being actively carried out.

  3. Great efforts made to increase inter-departmental cooperation, institutional building and talent training and a general network and system for protection of underwater cultural heritage developed initially.

  The National Coordination Group for Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage has been founded, which is composed of a number of relevant government agencies. The National Center for Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, a newly-founded institution dedicated to protection of and research on underwater cultural heritage, has organized training programs for up to 100 professionals in underwater archaeology and protection of salvaged objects. In addition, national bases for protection of underwater cultural heritage have been set up in Qingdao, Ningbo, Wuhan and Fuzhou. As a result, a general network and system for protection of underwater cultural heritage in China have been initially developed.

  4. Law enforcement and inspection strengthened in order to guarantee the safety of underwater cultural heritage.

  In 2010, China’s first project for routine monitoring of underwater cultural heritage was launched in Banyangjiao sea area in Fujiang Province, which has helped to develop a new approach for underwater heritage monitoring through multi-departmental cooperation. In 2011, the Special Survey and Research Project for Combating Clandestine Excavation of Underwater Cultural Heritage was carried out, a joint project with the participation of various government agencies. In 2012, special law enforcement and inspection activities were conducted in key sea areas. Meanwhile, joint hard fights by various government agencies have been launched to combat criminal activities against underwater cultural heritage, which have seen effective results.

  5. Efforts made to improve legal system building and standard formulation with regard to underwater cultural heritage.

  The Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Objects was enacted in 1989 and efforts to amend this legal document are well underway. In addition, China is working procedures on underwater archaeology and protection of salvaged objects and standards and rules to guarantee safe work and social welfare of professionals conducting underwater archaeology are being formulated, in an attempt to improve China’s protection and management system for underwater cultural heritage.

  6. International exchanges and cooperation increased.

  China has established extensive contacts and partnership with UNESCO and professional institutions in underwater archaeology and underwater heritage protection from South Korea, Japan, Australia, USA and Italy, and conducted joint underwater archaeology and research projects with Russia, Kenya and South Korea. Moreover, it has organized a large number of joint training programs, academic study projects and exchange visits in cooperation with many other countries. As a result, China has made constant progress in protection of its underwater cultural heritage and contributed significantly to the international community in this regard.


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