Pot on the seabed.

Underwater Cultural Heritage

Underwater remains of human activity are referred to as underwater cultural heritage. Together with their underwater context, they form an underwater cultural landscape. Often, the preservation of cultural heritage and the protection of underwater nature go hand in hand, mutually reinforcing each other.

Antiquities record

The Finnish Heritage Agency maintains a registry of ancient monuments, is responsible for the protection of underwater ancient monuments, processes research permit applications for underwater ancient monuments, provides opinions on the impacts of water construction projects on underwater cultural heritage, and collaborates with recreational divers.

The registry of ancient monuments contains information on over 2000 underwater finds, of which around 800 are protected ancient monuments. Underwater ancient monuments or areas can roughly be categorized into types:

  • Shipwrecks of ships, boats, and skiffs
  • Underwater structures, e.g., harbor and defense structures, fishing-related structures
  • Harbor sites
  • Shipwreck sites, sometimes only the cargo and belongings of the ship remain, and sometimes the remnants of the ship itself might be nearby
  • Naval battle sites, which may contain multiple shipwrecks and related artifacts
  • Submerged residential and burial sites
  • Sacrificial sites
  • Surface finds