Diver on the sea bed with a 3D visualisation of an ancient artefact
Still from ‘Pavlopetri - The City Beneath the Waves’ documentary, dir. Paul Olding; courtesy of Jon Henderson.

Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) is unique in that most people have never seen it. Access is restricted to divers meaning that, in direct contrast to terrestrial heritage, public awareness of underwater cultural heritage remains low. Digital technologies have offered a way to overcome this problem with many experts predicting as early as 2016 that there would be a digital revolution in the way people accessed and experienced underwater sites. But how far has this vision been realised? Are people now more aware of underwater heritage? Using first-hand examples from projects, including shipwrecks and sunken cities from across the globe, this seminar will examine what has been successful, what problems remain and what still needs to be done.

Jon Henderson is a Chancellors Fellow in Global Challenges at the University of Edinburgh where he is also the Director of the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre. With specific research interests in submerged prehistoric settlements and developing underwater survey techniques, he has directed underwater projects in the UK, Poland, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jamaica and Malaysia. A particular focus of his work is the development of innovative digital techniques for the recording and presentation of underwater sites. Jon is currently a series consultant and regular on-screen contributor to the National Geographic series Drain the Oceans which uses cutting-edge digital recording and CGI modelling to present underwater sites to a global audience.

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