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The Underwater Cultural Heritage

Centres under the auspices of UNESCO

Centres under the auspices of UNESCO

    The International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar, Croatia

    As a first of its kind the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar, Croatia, was granted the auspices of UNESCO by the General Conference in October 2007.

    This decision recognized that Croatia was among the first States to ratify the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. 

    In addition, underwater archaeology in Croatia has made considerable progress in the last years and a qualified system for survey, research and protection of underwater archaeology sites and finds is about to be put into place. The focal point of these activities is the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar, which opened in September 2007.

    The main purpose of the Centre is to carry out conservation, restoration and education activities. It will however also promote the ratification and implementation of the 2001 Convention by developing and sharing state-of-the-art methods of research in underwater archaeology, conservation and restoration, training and knowledge. The Centre will operate respecting the principles of the Convention and its Annex and contribute to building capacity also in the other States of the region.

    The Centre has in particular the task through international cooperation to:

    • professionally unify the activity of underwater archaeology in the Republic of Croatia,

    • organize the high-quality training and specialization of experts in underwater archaeology, nationally and internationally,

    • promote capacity-building, the pursuit of excellence and scientific research,

    • improve scientific and expert research of underwater archaeological sites,

    • analyse finds and present them,

    • carry out the conservation of underwater archaeological finds,

    • promote the principles of the 2001 Convention and its Annex.

    The Centre will have a significant regional dimension with respect to training activities, dissemination of knowledge and research. It will benefit the countries in the European and Mediterranean regions, in particular those bordering the Adriatic, among others Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, as well as France and Germany with whom fruitful cooperation has been established. Due to the type of archaeological finds and sites, strong cooperation with the countries in the region can be predicted.

    The Republic of Croatia provides, through its Ministry of Culture, the necessary funds for the functioning of the Centre, while the funds for accomplishing particular programmes should ideally be provided from different sources, depending on the type of programme or project. Funds for international programmes and projects will be provided from international sources.