Towards a Global Public-Private Protection Model Conference Paper uri icon


  • The offshore energy extraction industry, both renewables and oil and gas, continues to push into frontier areas where little to no protection exists for underwater cultural heritage (UCH) sites. Despite relatively rigorous regulatory requirements in the United States and the North Sea, other areas around the world have minimal to no cultural heritage regulatory frameworks to manage discovered archaeological sites. Operators with experience in more mature fields often assume any archaeological discoveries will result either in additional regulatory pressure by the national or domestic government, or that the sites will be protected as a matter of course. Unfortunately, a patchwork of cultural heritage laws that imperfectly interface with offshore energy regulations can all too often result in no protection for these sites, meaning the sites are protected only by the silence that surrounds their discovery. A new model, under development by partners from the energy industry and external cultural heritage experts, suggests a solution: a standalone database of discovered antiquity sites from energy extraction projects that would be voluntarily shared both with industry partners and government regulators. Operators would be able to access the database to help guide field decisions, and regulators would be able to use the information in their efforts to prevent looting and unauthorized salvage by third party salvage firms. The concept, while simplistic, requires industry and governmental consultation and cooperation. This paper provides an overview of the solution, and calls for assistance from stakeholders to help solve a 21st century archaeological and industry problem - protecting the sites that lie deep beneath the surface, and that have survived for thousands of years - while allowing responsible energy development to continue.

name of conference

  • Day 4 Thu, May 04, 2017

published proceedings

  • Day 4 Thu, May 04, 2017

author list (cited authors)

  • Faulk, K. L., Fucik, K., Varmer, O., & Wachsmann, S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Faulk, Kimberly L||Fucik, Ken||Varmer, Ole||Wachsmann, Shelley

publication date

  • January 2017