Climate Change Threatening Archaeological Heritage in (Former) Riverbeds


  • Martijn R. Manders




rivers, riverbeds, underwater heritage, climate change, flooding, drought


Water has always played an important part in societies. It has created and damaged, also threatened and saved societies throughout their existence. Its absence has done the same. Our rivers and seas contain evidence of this history and contain important parts of our cultural heritage, including underwater cultural heritage. Changing water levels – whether they lead to flooding or drought – challenge people’s livelihoods and threaten our heritage in (former) riverbeds, lakes and seas. Hunger stones, drowned villages, waterworks and shipwrecks all provide insight into the long history of human settlement. However, their sudden appearance due to climate change does not always allow for careful exploration. Long-term strategies are needed to assess underwater heritage, investigate and preserve it. This article explores the challenges and opportunities of underwater heritage that arise from climate change, with a focus on Dutch rivers.

How to Cite

Manders, M. R. (2024). Climate Change Threatening Archaeological Heritage in (Former) Riverbeds. 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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