From the 16th to the 17th of November at the Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg there was held the Scientific and Practical Conference «Preservation of the Underwater Cultural Heritage», it was held for the first time in the framework of the VI International Cultural Forum.
Experts from Argentina, Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, Sweden, and Russia took part in the event dedicated to the topical problems of underwater archeology, and various aspects of the protection and preservation of underwater monuments concern their scientific interests. The conference was also attended by underwater archaeologists, museum directors, representatives of international organizations dealing with the preservation of the cultural heritage of mankind, such as UNESCO, the International Council for the Preservation of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). According to the Deputy Director of the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences Natalia Solovieva, the conference reflects the broadest expert opinion – «from Argentina to Vladivostok».
As the Deputy Minister of Culture of Russia Oleg Ryzhkov noted, the theme of preserving the underwater cultural heritage is quite new for his department, however, the discussion of pressing issues on this topic should become annual within the frames of the subsequent forums.
A clear confirmation of the results achieved by the researchers of the sea depths was the exhibition of the RGS underwater research center, presented at the Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg. One of the guests of honor of the exhibition was Prince Michael of Kent.
One of the central themes discussed by the conference participants was the practice of applying international legislation in the protection of the underwater cultural heritage and the lack of relevant laws in Russia. In the report of the Executive Director of the Center for Underwater Research of the Russian State Technical University Sergey Fokin, there were made suggestions on improving the methodology for working with such facilities, as well as filling gaps in legislation. This could prevent the destruction of underwater monuments and translate such studies completely into a legitimate field.
To the attention of the scientific community were presented projects of underwater research, implemented with the support and participation of the Russian Geographical Society, - «Bowing to the ships of the Great Victory», the expedition «Lefort» and the creation of the eponymous virtual museum, «The flooded shrines of the Mologa region, or the Tale of the City of Kitezh» and others.
The Russian experts spoke about a number of studies on the conservation of underwater natural heritage sites in the Black Sea, Baltic regions and Primorye.
The participants of the conference noted the high level of reports and the undoubted benefits of such meetings for the scientific community, as well as for solving the problems facing modern underwater archeology.
The result of the conference was a resolution sent to the Ministry of Culture of Russia.