Underwater Cultural Heritage as an Engine for Social, Economic and Cultural Development. State of Research at the University of Cadiz (Andalusia, Spain)
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DepartmentHistoria, Geografía y Filosofía; Ingeniería Informática
SourceHeritage 2021, 4(4), 2676-2690
Public access to underwater and maritime cultural heritage has proven to have a very positive effect on the local economy. This type of heritage is very attractive for the cultural tourism sector in general and for active and diving tourism. The Nautical and Underwater Archeology Line of the University of Cadiz, within the framework of the TIDE Project (Interreg Atlantic Area) and Herakles Project (FEDER-UCA18-107327) have been working on the enhancement of maritime and underwater heritage through the application of new technologies. In this paper, we will present the advances in the project in the Strait of Gibraltar, based on the first phase of scientific analysis and on the definition of a common working methodology that has resulted in a toolkit for the development of tourism activities linked to the MCH and UCH. Pilot activities under development are focused on accessible underwater heritage routes, VR applications to create Dry Dive experiences and the streaming of underwater archaeological works, thanks to a bottom-surface acoustic communication buoy. Results show that these types of outreach solutions and, by extension, of tourism application, must be preceded by a rigorous archaeological research process, a study of the target audience and the evaluation of the carrying capacity of the sites, to avoid falling into the mercantilisation or deterioration of the UCH. On the other hand, virtual or indirect access solutions are very useful, but always through the correct interpretation of the heritage.
Subjectsunderwater heritage; underwater accessible heritage; VR applied to underwater heritage; shipwreck; Strait of Gibraltar; underwater heritage toolkit; underwater communications
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