The noticeable significance of UCH in general, but also WW I and II UCH in particular, being the focus of discussion in this paper, brings to the forefront two highly complex and interwoven goals, namely WW I and II UCH protection/preservation; and its integration into local development planning endeavors in coastal and insular communities in the Mediterranean region.
Achievement of these goals, according to authors’ perception, implies the transition from a “silo” to a more integrated and cooperative UCH management approach, embedding heritage managers’ work into a cultural planning process. Key aspects of such a transition, delimiting the context of the planning process, are discussed in the following, taking into consideration that although not all of these aspects are of strictly Mediterranean concern or decision-making, they however are perceived as crucial for sustainably managing Mediterranean WW I and II UCH, an important part of the world’s heritage but also a valuable resource for heritage-led local development in this economically stagnating though culturally vibrant part of the globe.
4.1. From a “Silo” to an Integrated WW I and II UCH Management Approach
Marine archaeologists and heritage professionals –the main actors of the UCH ”silo” approach, with this community perceiving themselves as “owners” of UCH
]—are having a rather narrow viewpoint of UCH management, focusing on UCH location
(state of preservation sites and materials), preservation options
) and monitoring
of the site (site conditions–downscaling, stabilization of the site and recovered artifacts it contains) and its wider environment (open water conditions–upscaling) in order to ensure that the site will not be lost. This “silo” approach has been largely criticized for lacking a broader perspective of sustainable exploitation of UCH
, not fully addressing this heritage to society and sustainable development [71
]. In fact it largely ignores that “cultural heritage is a shared resource, and a common good”
] (p. 2); and that there is a need to incorporate in UCH study other skills, views, interpretations and perceptions as well.
However, during the last decade, a growing importance is attached to CH in general and UCH in particular, and an effort is carried out towards linking them to societal and local development objectives, further enhanced by relative policy initiatives. Blue growth strategy
] and the strengthening of interest in coastal and maritime tourism is a remarkable example of such initiatives, setting this type of tourism as one of the five focus areas for delivering sustainable growth and jobs as well as social and economic cohesion in the blue economy context [75
This in turn implies that in order for WW I and II UCH protection/preservation and UCH-driven Local Sustainable Development (LSD) goals
to be achieved, a certain shift from the “silo” to a more integrated approach (Figure 4
) is gradually becoming apparent [73
]. Such a shift is expected to support achievement of the above goals by properly integrating:
UCH management dimensions into various contexts (e.g., spatial, environmental, economic, societal), thus constituting a step towards a multi- and inter-disciplinary interaction and cooperation among a variety of disciplines. This will bring on board diversified qualities and knowledge stock that are necessary for ensuring both protection/preservation and sustainable and resilient exploitation of WW I and II UCH.
Experiential knowledge and stakes of the various interested parties into scientific knowledge and decision-making processes, in an effort to create value and effectively protect UCH (good example of public engagement is the one of Australia, as presented by Viduka (2017) [8
Touching upon all three pillars of current sustainability concerns—
environment, economy and society/culture—
such a newly engraving, integrated and comprehensive approach to UCH management (Figure 4
Places UCH in its wider environment, exploring positive and negative interactions of UCH with this environment. This implies the exploration and documentation of this interaction by means of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), setting the ground for identifying risk or opportunity emanating from UCH, i.e., UCH as a source of pollution [76
] or an artificial reef [78
Grasps UCH as a valuable resource, a production factor, which can create positive impulses to local economies by opening up business opportunities for new cultural experience-based products and local income creation [7
]. This view is further enhanced by the EU blue growth strategy [81
], fertilizing the ground for the attraction of investments in maritime activities. Sustainable exploitation of UCH has definitely the potential to be part of a vibrant blue growth strategy of EU, provided that the carrying capacity of the seascape is consciously addressed. Thus, UCH sites are potential places for sustainable experience-based tourism development, playing the role of e.g., underwater museums of the European history, but also sites of recreation and leisure in properly managed underwater parks and diving trails. These can render these historical maritime landscapes and their content visible and graspable to a larger audience.
Engages society in the creation of a UCH narrative
that embeds empirical knowledge and has multiple benefits with respect to local identity building, awareness raising on the value of UCH, establishment of community bonds and promotion of social cohesion and people’s sense of belonging [42
]. WW I and II UCH sites incorporate significant evidence of past military and fatal events and disasters that are closely related to their wider land neighborhood and are strongly linked to historical trajectory and socio-cultural aspects of local communities. In this respect, these are perceived as integral parts of local identity and incorporate meanings and values for these communities. Shifting to an integrated UCH management approach implies additionally the establishment of new trails for spreading these values to society and economy in an environmentally and culturally responsible way, safeguarding thus UCH and paving the way to heritage-led LSD [6
In contrast to the view of Hannahs (2003) [85
], stating that public access to archaeological sites is both incompatible with and contradictory to the goal of their preservation, many researchers share the opinion that when UCH is discovered, it should be properly managed, taking into consideration the needs of science and of the public, within the context of the prevailing legislative framework. Scott-Ireton (2007) [86
] takes it a step further by designating community involvement as a critical factor for the successful management of submerged archaeological sites; but also a key driver and an effective means for monitoring shipwrecks in the community’s own backyards, providing more effective results than legislation and threat of arrest per se. Training people to respect UCH and teaching them to perceive this heritage as a historical asset determining their identity, but also a resource that can steer new economic opportunities, and a catalyst for social cohesion and environmental sustainability, can strengthen public awareness and render local communities the safeguards
of this heritage to the benefit of sustainable local development.
The broadened UCH management perspective for heritage-led LSD, promoted during recent years, is also advocated by Altvater (2017) [87
], who states that UCH sites should be interpreted as multifunctional sites
, embedding environmental, economic, socio-cultural/historical and spatial dimensions; while their management needs to be perceived through an integrated and holistic UCH approach. Heritage managers in such an approach, apart from their traditional role as leaders of UCH protection/preservation processes, should in addition act as facilitators in orchestrating interaction among all those who can have a ‘say’ in the sustainable exploitation of UCH, setting also exploitation constraints in alignment with UCH carrying capacity.
4.2. Dealing with WW I and II UCH Management as a ”Wicked” Planning Problem
The goals of WW I and II UCH protection/preservation
and its integration into local development
planning endeavors in coastal and insular communities in the Mediterranean region represent the two sides of the same coin and compose, in terms of planning terminology, a “wicked problem”
]. This is due to the very nature of WW I and II UCH as part of the cultural heritage, and the multiple scientific dimensions it encompasses, such as [7
Purely technical: Archaeological and heritage management approaches for UCH protection/preservation.
Environmental: Role of UCH as either a pollution source or a beneficial artificial reef.
Social and ethical: UCH linkages to diversifying localities’ values and narratives or human losses of varying nationalities.
Technological: Tools and technologies addressing UCH research issues.
Jurisdictional: National and international laws and conventions dedicated to UCH protection.
Apart from the above dimensions, effective UCH management should also take into account the different stakes of parties’ interests in UCH, as well as the diverse understanding or multiple meanings attached by these parties to both the UCH per se and its surrounding environment, together with their power to influence UCH management decision-making processes. This implies the full understanding of the multiplicity of cultural cognition
and the setting of cultural UCH management into the diverse and multi-faceted constructed social contexts [89
], steering thus a culturally-sensitive and informed UCH management approach. Here, special attention is needed with respect to ‘dissonant heritage’, implying the often different meanings, values, and interpretations attached to WW I and II UCH and the potential conflicts these can create, e.g., between tourism and sacred use of the site or between local and global perspectives [90
]. As a result, there are often fragmented group histories related to WW I and II, such as national heritage that focuses on liberation or even defeat; ethnic groups that focus on deportation/execution in a specific place; soldiers from abroad that lie in war cemeteries on land or in UCH that are important commemorative places transcending the narrative of local ethnic groups [91
of WW I and II UCH management for serving protection/preservation and sustainable exploitation purposes and the various concerns this entails is schematically designated in Figure 5
Starting from the spatial context
of WW I and II UCH, it is worth noting that although this heritage has a specific spatial reference, i.e., the marine
environment in which it is found, and a specific location in this environment, its importance transcends also directly the (Figure 5
neighboring coastal part, since a number of wrecks are potentially located close to the coast and their narrative are strongly linked to the coastal part as well, such as the case of Southern France, and “Operation Dragoon” in WW II or the case of Leros Island, Greece and ‘The Battle of Leros’ in WW II; and
neighboring terrestrial part
of the area through e.g., the involvement of local population in the military events or the location of military installations/operations in the land part, such as the case of Leros Island, Greece in WW II [7
Apart from the above direct influence of WW I and II UCH on the coastal and terrestrial part, this can also impact these parts indirectly, through e.g., the cultural enrichment of respective localities or the deployment of coastal and land cultural planning interventions as counterparts of the sustainable exploitation of UCH.
In spatial terms, UCH importance transcends additionally national borders, as there are an abundant number of WW I and II military vessels to be found in waters that differ from the flag of the vessel, thus flag nations have a ‘say’ in their handling.
Another important issue for UCH management relates to the prevailing practice through which this heritage is currently handled, largely marked by a “silo” approach that is based on archaeological norms (Figure 4
). This approach confines the goals of UCH management to protection/preservation, leaving aside concerns related to the sustainable exploitation of UCH for serving local development objectives as given in Figure 5
Speaking of the complexity of CH management, one cannot leave aside the issue of CH governance
, i.e., a rapidly evolving area, and a multi- and inter-disciplinary research field [92
] that, additionally, attracts the interest of a variety of stakeholders, e.g., institutions, administrative entities, societal and user groups; further reinforcing the complexity of CH management. In particular, UCH governance adds additional layers of complexity in this research area, mainly due to the peculiarities of the marine environment in which UCH lies; the competing and, many times, conflicting sectoral interests and respective maritime uses that can place UCH at risk; and, at most times, the limited accessibility for further research, management and monitoring of this type of heritage.
UCH governance implies horizontal but also vertical interactions among those involved in decision-making processes.
Horizontal interactions address linkages of UCH exploitation to coastal and land developments. Indeed, effective UCH management implies the need to adopt approaches that accommodate land and marine interactions; and lead to UCH preservation plans that are in alignment with a variety of terrestrial and marine legal frameworks and related policies. Difficulties inherent in such a task render policy making with regards to UCH a rather tricky issue, in contrast to policy making in terrestrial areas; while broaden the range of actors that need to be engaged in relevant decision-making processes.
Vertical interactions reflect the necessity for coordination among UCH policies articulated at different spatial decision-making levels (national, European, global). Design and enforcement of UCH preservation decisions is actually dispersed to a range of jurisdictions, with different and sometimes conflicting interests and perspectives; and at a variety of spatial scales, from local to global. This, coupled with the recently evolving paradigm towards an enhanced collaboration between public authorities as well as private actors and the civil society, renders UCH management a principally “cultural governance” topic. Governance in this respect targets the formulation and implementation of UCH policies that are inspired by the close interaction among a variety of actors, originating from the states or official organizations of European and/or global reach, the civil society and the cultural market.
The value of the participatory dimension of cultural governance is also highlighted by the European Council’s conclusions of 26 November 2012 on “Cultural Governance”, stressing the significance of making cultural governance more open, participatory, effective, and coherent [93
]. Such a UCH consideration features the significance of coordinated actions of both vertical and horizontal
nature that: result in a coherent UCH protection framework
; adjust this framework to other sectoral policies
affecting UCH activities (fishing, transport, tourism, diving, environment, offshore activities, etc.); ensure cooperation of different jurisdictions
(e.g., national and local/regional administrations, archaeological institutions, EU institutions); and accommodate a variety of stakeholders’ interests
(e.g., academic and research institutions, experts, NGOs, NPOs and civic community representatives).
Speaking of the legislative context
, it should be noted that enunciation of legal rules for WW I and II UCH protection is a quite complex issue, where the number, diversity and spatial reference of different bodies taking legislative action (from national to global level) leads to what Strati (1995) [47
] calls a legal labyrinth
, translated into a variety of wreck, salvage and heritage laws, which can differ among national legal systems.
The core legal issues in WW I and II UCH protection for a state are jurisdiction
, ownership rights
, and sovereign immunity
In the case of jurisdiction
, WW I and II UCH may lie in disputed or international waters, rendering ownership
of a submerged vessel rather unclear. Ocean politics and governance is often related to state priorities, including not only UCH but also an array of priorities, such as energy security, safeguarding national security and maritime interests [20
of military vessels by flag states on the high seas may have been extinguished through abandonment by the flag state. However, determining when a military vessel has been abandoned can be problematic (e.g., through capture, agreement, gift or sale) [48
]. Furthermore, the UNCLOS Convention does not include merchant vessels engaged in the war effort by a state and, more importantly, does not make specific reference to whether sunken vessels are still entitled to such immunity [20
]. Strati (2006) [44
] claims further that if a flag state has not enacted specific legislation to protect its UCH in the high seas, admiralty law may govern historic wrecks and their cargoes; and the finder may be considered as having a good right to such property, and may carry out salvage operations.
The UNESCO 2001 Convention for UCH, as briefly discussed in Section 3
, has resolved many of the shortfalls of the UNCLOS Convention by clearly defining what are ‘State vessels’, i.e., warships and other vessels or aircraft that were owned and operated by a state and were used at the time of sinking only for governmental non-commercial purposes. However, the convention does not resolve the issue of sovereign immunity of sunken warships, since it was considered too complex from a technical and legal point of view; and the issue of UCH ownership still remains a gap in this convention [20
]. More importantly, this convention only applies to UCH older than 100 years, such as WW I vessels and does not yet include vessels of WW II. Many states, such as Greece, Turkey, Japan, and United States, to mention a few, have still not signed this convention, since some of its provisions may be in conflict with their national laws or for other reasons [4
]. Finally, issues on how to manage UCH that involve hazards from polluting or dangerous materials, which may be associated to these types wrecks, are not detailed in UNESCO’s provisions [20
Where the 1982 UNCLOS Convention fails to mention sunken warships, and states have not signed the 2001 UNESCO Convention, the US and other maritime powers, such as Japan, Netherlands etc. have made formal statements upholding the notion of sovereign immunity of their sunken warships [20
], regardless of which maritime zone they are located in. However, the issue of sovereign immunity to sunken warships as well as the precondition of ownership and abandonment can still be problematic and unresolved, despite the provisions of these conventions and the formal national statements or laws. Strati (2006) [44
] explains why the UNESCO Convention did not deal with the ‘presumption of abandonment’ for this type of UCH, since this issue affects indirectly ownership. In this respect, it avoids the complex issues associated with ownership of the UCH, since the legal status of historic shipwrecks and their cargoes are entangled with the various wreck, salvage, and heritage laws, which vary among different legal systems. Furthermore, she states that the absence of international principles on the question of ownership indicates the reluctance of the international community to regulate this issue, which is left open to domestic legislation.
Discussion on WW I and II UCH brings also forward the issues of ‘value’
and public importance
of UCH that are critical for prioritizing decisions on UCH preservation and have been extensively discussed in the literature (e.g., [5
]). As Pye (2001) [97
] (p.57) states ‘the meanings and values attached to objects … provide the very reason for conservation’
. Preservation of UCH is therefore perceived as a value-driven activity
or an effort to maintain and enhance significance carried out by this part of CH. This in turn brings to the forefront the issue of value judgment
and the need to explicitly define and prioritize judgment criteria
that reflect the different views and perceptions of the heritage object at hand. As such, the following can be indicatively perceived:
Legislative status, e.g., abandoned/protected according to maritime laws;
Vulnerability or risk to loss;
Polluting source or artificial reef;
Current condition of UCH;
Role as historical prototype of ships and related technology that survive in a submerged museum-like status;
War grave or memorial;
Political, economic, cultural/historical values UCH carries;
Spatial attributes, e.g., location, sea depth, visibility and temperature of waters;
Social value, i.e., sense of identity based on various perspectives (local, coastal state and flag nation perspectives);
Symbolic value—conveyor of meaning.
By further enriching the above list, a clear cut, multiple perspective assessment framework can be produced, which can result in a transparent and fully documented preservation/prioritization scheme in support of decision-making and resource allocation with respect to UCH protection/preservation. Prioritization of judgment criteria in respective multicriteria assessments, i.e., attachment of criteria weights, is a matter of public and stakeholders’ engagement in order for the different perspectives to be grasped and properly balanced. Expected challenges of important UCH that are prioritized rather low due to their dark or dissonant history they carry will need to be dealt with so that conflicting or ambiguous heritage values can be neutralized through either museumification or commemorative conversion of the site [98
] (see [98
] as case study example).