The invisible treasures of our past
As an underwater archaeologist I often consider myself to be in one of the best professions in the world: it is adventurous and there is always new material to be discovered. Underwater archaeology involves picking up the pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, creating a picture of what might have happened in the past. The stories that unfold from these pictures can be shocking, moving and sometimes sad, but they can also be beautiful and joyous. I am also privileged to be working in the Netherlands, a maritime nation at heart, where water has shaped the country. We only have to think of all the land that would disappear if we got rid of the dikes: approximately half of the country would disappear! Cities have been built along important waterways, cultural and economic contacts were established over water, and the Netherlands had important colonies overseas. This rich maritime history has left an abundance of sites on the seabed, circa ten thousand wellpreserved locations in Dutch waters alone. Scientifically I could not ask for more, but from an underwater cultural heritage management perspective, much remains to be done.
This is a digital offprint from:
Dries, M. van den, J. van der Linde & A. Strecker (eds.) 2015: Fernweh: Crossing borders and connecting people in archaeological heritage management. Essays in honour of prof. Willem J.H. Willems. Leiden: Sidestone Press.
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