The SeArch Project: Towards an Assessment Methodology and Sustainable Management Policy for the Archaeological Heritage of the North Sea in Belgium

  • Tine MissiaenEmail author
  • Marnix Pieters
  • Frank Maes
  • Pauline Kruiver
  • Philippe De Maeyer
  • Jan Seys
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)


Large parts of the Belgian continental shelf (BCP) are affected by commercial activities. Close to the shore, major infrastructural works are also envisaged for the near future. All these activities constitute a serious threat for the underwater cultural heritage (UCH) but until recently solid regulation regarding UCH was (and largely still is) lacking in Belgium. The SeArch project tries to offer solutions to these challenges through the realisation of three objectives: (1) developing a reliable survey methodology based on remote sensing techniques that allows cost-effective evaluation of the archaeological potential of offshore, nearshore, and intertidal areas; (2) preparing correct implementation of the commitments imposed by international conventions and of comprehensive proposals for a transparent and sustainable management policy for UCH in Belgium; (3) offering guidance for the stakeholders from marine industry, government agencies, fisheries, and harbour authorities on how to implement the new methodology and management approach, and to increase the general awareness with regards to UCH. The 4-year SeArch project started in 2013 and involves partners from Ghent University, Flanders Heritage Agency, Deltares and Flanders Marine Institute. In this paper we discuss the main scientific challenges of the project and some first results.


Sustainable management Survey methodology Belgian continental shelf Underwater cultural heritage 



The SeArch project ( is funded by the Flanders Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tine Missiaen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marnix Pieters
    • 2
  • Frank Maes
    • 3
  • Pauline Kruiver
    • 4
  • Philippe De Maeyer
    • 5
  • Jan Seys
    • 6
  1. 1.Renard Centre of Marine Geology, Department of GeologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Flanders Heritage AgencyBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Maritime Institute, Department of Public International LawGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Geology and Geophysics, DeltaresUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.CartoGIS, Department of GeographyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  6. 6.Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)OstendBelgium

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