2017 Session 6: History and Current Trends of Underwater Archaeology around East Asia

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Title

2017 Session 6: History and Current Trends of Underwater Archaeology around East Asia

Description

East Asia is extremely rich in underwater cultural heritage, such as conventional shipwrecks under the sea, submerged settlement sites on the bottoms of inland lakes and rivers, or prehistoric shell mounds along coastal zones. For instance, the medieval or post-medieval aged wrecks and their cargos have recently been discovered one after another in the waters, or the underwater cultural heritage or seascape of stone tidal weir is a common cultural trait to the Ryukyu archipelago, western Japan, southern Korea, mainland China, and Formosa, which surround the East China Sea or a northern part of the Asian Mediterranean. No East Asian nation has ratified the UNESCO 2001 Convention, partly because it does not exactly correspond with oriental philosophy, it does not properly resolve the controversial issues upon sovereign immunity of warship wrecks, and so forth. Occasionally, the principle of preservation in situ in the convention has not been the first choice as Asian waters have poor water clarity generally.

Nevertheless, each country has already moved forward with its own underwater archaeological policies and projects both on governmental and grassroots levels. Some activities are in close cooperation with foreign institutions or universities. In East Asia, document-based historical study or terrestrial archaeology has a long tradition, which has had a noteworthy impact upon underwater archaeology and its methodology. Even in this region as well as in other Pacific areas, contrariwise, the technological advancement in underwater survey has remarkably been made recently; using remote-sensing with satellites, robotics for ROVs or AUVs, or 3D photogrammetry by computer software mitigates or cancels the limitations regarding accessibility and working time caused by underwater environment. The tie between such modern technologies and archaeology has minted new applications and perspectives of underwater cultural heritage study. The multi-disciplinary or holistic approaches are increasingly more and more necessary among Asian researchers.

Creator

Akifumi Iwabuchi
Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan
Kotaro Yamafune
APPARATUS, LLC, Japan

Collection Items

A Methodology for Accurate and Quick Photogrammetric Recording of Underwater Cultural Heritage
In the past seven years, photogrammetry has become one of the main recording methods in maritime and underwater archaeology. The application of photogrammetry allows archaeologists to re-create underwater cultural heritage sites in 3D digital…

Seamanship and Navigation: Seafarers on Board Daily Skills in Chinese Junk
Chinese sailing traditions changed a little through time; sailors inherited their onboard skills, expertise, and experience by orally imparting others with physical instruction. But these daily skills were rarely recorded or studied in the past. For…

Uraga Port between Manila and Acapulco
Uraga Port at the southern end of the Miura Peninsula, located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, is formed as a deep cove from the Pacific Ocean; it is less susceptible to weather conditions and is suitable for the natural environment. In the 16th and…

Who Were the Africans in Eastern Asia? : The Christian European Period 1500-1900 AD
Seaways, especially monsoonal ones, allow movement on two directions. However Eurocentric approaches have tended to create hierarchies of cultures which have biased movements in particular directions to the historical exclusion of some narratives.…

Legal Status of Sunken State Vessels and Sovereign Immunity
The entry into force in 2009 of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (hereinafter referred to as ‘UCH Convention’) adopted in 2001 could be regarded as a welcome development to elaborate or clarify any ambiguity of…

The Iron Grapnel Supposed to Belong to the Sinan Shipwreck and Other Anchors in East Asia
In 2016 an iron grapnel was shown in some special exhibitions marking the 40th anniversary of the Sinan shipwreck excavation in Korea. The grapnel 2.3m length has four arms, and it had been raised by a fisherman’s net in 1972 before the wreck was…

Developing the Foundation for Sustainable Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage Starting from Local Involvement: Case Studies in Okinawa
The Ryukyu Archipelago is well known for its beautiful ocean and coral reefs; and thanks to these beautiful oceans, scuba diving and snorkeling and have become one of the most important activities for its tourist industry of the archipelago. Around…

The Historical Transition of Lakefront Environment and Use in Lake Biwa, Japan
Lake Biwa is the largest and oldest lake in Japan. It has approximately 4,000,000 years of history, and many people have lived on this lake. More than 90 underwater archaeological sites exist here, and we are able to understand the subtleties of…

A Preliminary Study on the Barrier of the Sino-French War of 1884 at Tamsui Estuary, Taiwan
During the Sino-French War of 1884, the Qing military intentionally sank a number of wrecks filled with rocks under the Tamsui River and surrounded them with naval mines and many railings to form a barrier against the French invasion. In 2014, one…

The 17th Century Wooden Shipwreck off Hatsushima Island, Japan
The Asian Research Institute of Underwater Archaeology (ARIUA) at Fukuoka and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, which is a member institution of the UNESCO Underwater Archaeology Unitwin Network, have researched upon the 17th century…

Basic Studies on the Western Shipwrecks Discovered in the Ryukyu Archipelago and Their Influence on Modern Society
Extensive distributional survey of the underwater cultural heritage revealed the disposition of 230 underwater cultural heritage sites in the Ryukyu Archipelago, and 23 sites out of 230 are identified as the wreck sites. Dates of these wrecks vary…

Development of the Sledge-Type Underwater Metal Detection System for Underwater Cultural Heritage Exploration
The National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage (NRIMCH) in Republic of Korea has promoted the 4-years ‘Development Project of Underwater Cultural Heritage Exploration Techniques’ from 2013 through 2016. During the project, the metallic…

The Shared Underwater Cultural Heritage of Japan and the Netherlands: the Kanrin-maru
In 2014, a non-exhaustive inventory of the shared cultural heritage of the Netherlands and Japan was made by the Dutch government in the context of what the Netherlands calls its ‘Shared Cultural Heritage Policy’. This inventory resulted in an…

European Ships of Discovery
The ships and boats of the 15th and early 16th century European voyages were the space shuttles of their time, and yet we don’t know much about them because most have been destroyed by looters and treasure hunters. This paper will focus on a…
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