This charter was prepared by ICUCH and ratified by the 11th ICOMOS General Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria in October 1996. It is intended to encourage the protection and management of underwater cultural heritage in inland and inshore waters, in shallow seas and in the deep oceans. It focuses on the specific attributes and circumstances of cultural heritage under water and supplements the 1990 Charter for the Protection and Management of Archaeological Heritage (see below).
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world’s oceans and seas, establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources. It enshrines the notion that all problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be addressed as a whole.
Produced by the Archaeological Sites Working Group of the International Committee for Documentation (CIDOC) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the draft standard defines the minimum categories of information required to assess an archaeological site or monument, for planning, management, academic or other purposes.
Article 15 identifies that excavations should be carried out in accordance with scientific standards and the recommendation defining international principles to be applied in the case of archaeological excavation adopted by UNESCO in 1956.