Our knowledge of our marine heritage and the natural marine environment in southern Sweden is very weak. There are of course many reasons for this lack of knowledge, but a major contributing factor is that water is an obstacle in the availability of the marine landscape. This leads to lower priority in the protection of subsea archaeological sites by the Cultural Monuments Act than sites on land.
Water, or rather the depth, has nevertheless been very positive as it has acted as a protection for the wealth of wrecks and archaeological sites. However, this has been drastically changed over the last decades because of the subsea technology development.
It is increasingly easy to both find and plunder (or in ignorance destroy) irreplaceable cultural values, while legislation, information and education is lagging behind. Due to ignorance and carelessness can tomorrow’s antiquities be gone before they pass the current one hundred year limit and are legally protected.
The overall objective of the project “Our marine heritage” (Vårt marina arv) is to demonstrate to the public, politicians and others what is happening, by focusing on the cultural values that are hidden below sea level. The aim is to provide an assessment of the future need for protection for our marine landscapes. All items below the surface are obviously not worthy of protection, but how can you determine which objects to preserve for the future if we do not know what is there or even in the condition known wrecks are?
The latest round of “Vårt marina arv” was held in the summer of 2008 in Kämpinge Bay and at Falsterbo. Read more about it at the project site (in Swedish).