How do we manage our underwater cultural heritage? That is the main question of Martijn Manders' thesis. The maritime archaeologist and program manager of 'Maritime Heritage' at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands has been awarded his PhD by Leiden University on the 12th of December. His research focused on the Wadden Sea, which is a world heritage site with many different interests and values, including economic and cultural historical values. All these different aspects make the management of the Wadden Sea complex.
Much of the cultural heritage in Dutch waters is still unknown. But we can estimate, research and predict more than we do right now. If we have more insight, choices can be made about managing underwater cultural heritage sites. Choices about what we protect, monitor, investigate or even deselect. In addition, in situ storage is not a 'miracle cure' but is just a part of the solution, just like excavation and research are.
Manders: 'We have to make informed choices. For that we at least need knowledge, capacity and money. But above all, cooperation with stakeholders is essential. Everything stands and falls with public support for the cultural heritage.'