Charter for the Protection and Management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (1996)

Adopted by the ICOMOS General Assembly

The Charter addresses the conservation needs of underwater cultural property; it is intended to supplement the ICOMOS Charter for the Protection and Management of Archaeological Heritage of 1990. The Charter outlines fundamental principles for the conservation of the underwater heritage and discusses issues of funding, research objectives, qualifications of the team members, investigation, documentation, material conservation, management and maintenance of the site, and dissemination of information about the underwater heritage. Preservation in situ is given first preference. The Charter stresses that archaeological material must be treated during the investigation as well as during transit and over the long term. It encourages international cooperation and exchange of specialists to facilitate and improve research and investigations of the underwater heritage. It also encourages dissemination of information to the public regarding the significance of the underwater heritage and coordination and communication with concerned communities regarding proposed investigations.