WIT Press

The Protection Of Underwater Heritage In Taiwan: Recent Initiatives And Major Issues


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WIT Press


W.-Y. Chiau


As acknowledged in the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, the underwater cultural heritage is an integral part of the cultural heritage of humanity and a particularly important element in the history of peoples, countries, and their relations with each other in terms of their common heritage. The responsibility of protecting and preserving the underwater cultural heritage therefore rests with all countries. Taiwan shares the same concerns over the protection of underwater heritage with the rest of the world. In 1994, a pilot project for discovering the maritime heritage of the Penghu Archipelago (the Pescadores) was initiated. The first ever cross-strait conference on underwater heritage was held in October 2000. Starting in 2003, an international workshop on the protection of underwater heritage has also been held annually. The aims of this workshop are to provide a forum for sharing information and experiences on the development of underwater archaeology in the Asia-Pacific region. It also aims to explore the possibility for multilateral cooperation in underwater archaeology in the region, particularly in the coastal waters of Taiwan and its islands in the South China Sea. Additionally, an action plan on marine affairs, which includes facilitating underwater heritage research, is being drafted by the Council for the Promotion of Marine Affairs and will be adopted in early 2005. However, the issue of underwater heritage is still new in Taiwan and more research is clearly essential. Therefore, this paper introduces a pilot study in Penghu, discusses recent initiatives on the issue, explores the major issues of existing institutions (e.g., policies, laws, and administrative jurisdiction), and proposes a direction for future efforts for the protection of maritime heritage. Keywords: underwater cultural heritage, Taiwan, Penghu, South China Sea.


underwater cultural heritage, Taiwan, Penghu, South China Sea.