Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and Underwater Cultural Heritage

  • Debra Shefi
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2493


In 1973, member states of the United Nations met in New York for the Third Conference on the Law of the Sea. From 1973 until 1982, 160 State Parties met to discuss the legislative boundaries of the sea, addressing not just the legal but also the biological, economic, technical, and political aspects across the open bodies of water. As a result of these discussions, on December 10, 1982, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Convention came into force on November 16, 1994, after the 60th State Party signed onto the treaty. By October 2012, 165 State Parties had joined the Convention. This is the third Law of the Sea Convention adopted by the United Nations, and the only Law of the Sea to identify cultural heritage located underwater.

The first Law of the Sea (1958) consisted of four independent conventions and an optional protocol. The text introduced provisional maritime zones, but they remained ambiguous in regard to the defined breadth of...

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Further Reading

  1. Carducci, G. 2002. New developments in the Law of the Sea: the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. The American Journal of International Law 96(2): 419 – 434.Google Scholar
  2. Rau, M. 2002. The UNESCO Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage and the International Law of the Sea, in J.A. Frowein & R. Wolfrum (ed.) Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, Volume 6: 387 – 472. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  3. Strati, A. 1995. The protection of the underwater cultural heritage: an emerging objective of the contemporary law of the sea. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  4. Treves, T. 2008. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law. Available at: http://www.un.org/law/avl (accessed 21 July 2011).
  5. Walker, G. (ed.) 2012. Definitions for the Law of the Sea: terms not defined by the 1982 Convention. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia