Integrating Cultural Heritage to Marine Protected Areas in the MENA Region

C Breen, Julia Nikolaus, K Westley, Sophie Tews, Nick Ray, Lucy Blue, Georgia M. Andreou, Crystal El Safadi, Rodrigo Ortiz-Vazquez

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Cultural Heritage and Marine Protected Areas in the MENA Region

Over the past two decades MPAs have emerged as one of the primary legislative initiatives used to protect the marine environment, recognised as an integral management mechanism used to address climate Change and as a driver for sustainable community development. To date, these areas have been used primarily to protect the natural environment. However, there is a clear justification and need to integrate cultural heritage into this MPA network. This poster will discuss how we could start to actively consider the integration of Marine Cultural Heritage (MCH) into existing individual protected area plans. The integration of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage into these frameworks would support enhanced social cohesion, and a strengthening of place-making. The Maritime Endangered Archaeology project (MarEA) has recently started to develop a model that would allow for a more inclusive and meaningful integration of MCH to MPAs.

The main task of the Maritime Endangered Archaeology Project (MarEA) is to rapidly and comprehensively documents and assess threats to the maritime and coastal archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa, as maritime heritage sites in this region face many threats, particularly from conflict, rising sea-levels and urban and industrial development. The project is based at the University of Southampton and Ulster University in the UK. We use satellite imagery, published data and archival information from coastal and nearshore zones across the MENA region to collect data and to conduct condition assessments for all detected sites. The data is added to the open access database platform of the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project hosted by the University of Oxford.

By initially focusing on the MENA region, we are aiming to create a benchmark of Marine Cultural Heritage Protected Areas (MCHPA) in existing nature protected areas such as MPAs, Marine Reserves, protected Nature Areas or protected Wetlands. Through quantifying the nature and extent of the cultural resource it is anticipated that the project’s digital platforms will provide readily available, open access data to MPA managers and will encourage deeper engagement with the heritage resource. This poster will present our progress of mapping cultural heritage in existing MPAs in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia, and it will explore if current management practice could be adopted to facilitate MCH. This will pave the way for us to consider ways in which existing boundaries could be extended to facilitate greater inclusion of coastal heritage, and to consider the potential for future designation and protection
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 6 Jun 2022
EventThalassa 2022 - Larnaca, Cyprus
Duration: 6 Jun 20228 Jun 2022


ConferenceThalassa 2022
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