Close-up view: Previously-strong, hard oak wood from a shipwreck in the Wadden Sea (the Netherlands) has crumbled and almost disappeared due to the attack of the shipworm (Teredo navalis)
Changing Sea Conditions as a Threat to Our Underwater Cultural Heritage


  • Martijn R. Manders




sea, oceans, underwater heritage, sedimentation, erosion, acidity, salinity


Changing sea conditions due to climate change will have an enormous effect on all sorts of processes in seas, oceans and coastal areas. Current patterns will change, as will sedimentation-erosion processes, acidity and salinity. Invasive species will be able to settle in places they could not before. Each of these changes will trigger other processes that can have a negative effect on underwater cultural heritage. Our need to try to mitigate climate change has us looking for green energy, which has led us to build large wind farms in the North Sea. We want to continue living in areas under threat and therefore we imagine building high walls, to keep the water out. This barrier approach affects current, erosion and sedimentation patterns. Consequently, such actions need to be investigated in a multi-disciplinary way to understand the complexities of changes that may result.

How to Cite

Manders, M. R. (2024). Changing Sea Conditions as a Threat to Our Underwater Cultural Heritage. Blue Papers, 3(1).





challenges, concepts and new approaches

Author Biography

Martijn R. Manders

Martijn R. Manders, PhD, is a professor of underwater archaeology and maritime cultural heritage management. He is also coordinator of international maritime heritage at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. He has 34 years of experience in the field of underwater excavations and in the management of the submerged resources in many parts of the world. For UNESCO, Martijn coordinates and serves as head trainer for the Foundation Courses on the Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage


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