Maritime Heritage refers to all the intangible and tangible remnants of mankind s historic, cultural, linguistic, and archaeological links to aquatic ecosystems and archaeological sites and often associated with maritime folklore and sea travels. Since humans first appeared on Earth, the development of culture has depended, at least in part, upon being able to understand and use the environment that we lived in. As such, the development of navigation andautical technologies was integral to human understanding of the world around them and their place in the pecking order of the food chain. This led to a set of practices and systems which, in many cases, helped humans to better understand and interact with their natural environment. The evolution of navigation systems and technologies also helped to transform the nature of trade, communication, and travel.
As trade routes and communications networks spread across the north Carolina coast over time, the cultural significance of the maritime heritage of the area increased. As seaports and harbors grew closer, more cultural practices were transferred inland, including aspects of navigation, culture, beliefs, and even religion. Today, that same social network, along with its long-term effects on the people who live there and the climate and geography of the coastal region, continues to be an important and ever-evolving aspect of the North Carolina economy. Indeed, the continuing importance of these maritime archaeological sites can be seen today in the efforts to document, protect, and promote the long-term conservation of this fragile coastal area.
As a result, a diverse group of North Carolina State Parks have been formed to preserve and safeguard the maritime heritage of this coastal area. These historic shipwrecks and other coastal resources serve as a part of the State’s efforts to protect its historic and cultural resources. In fact, in recognition of the value of these artifacts, several groups and individuals have taken on the responsibility of protecting these treasures, in addition to developing further educational programs to share this valuable information. One such group is the North Carolina Offshore Cultural Heritage Association, which has a number of programs designed to bring the educational process together with this critical component of the state’s cultural heritage.
For example, the NC Register of Historic Sites helps to support the effort to protect the maritime heritage of the state. In addition, the National Maritime Arbor Association works with the public and the media on many different levels to raise awareness of the importance and conservation of our nation’s fragile coastal waters and shores. Similarly, the North Carolina Sea Resources Board Education Program educates the public on the importance and preservation of the state’s maritime heritage.
There are a number of methods for preserving our nation’s maritime heritage. Unfortunately, the development of new technologies makes it increasingly difficult for us to preserve our shipwrecks, which are often located hundreds or thousands of miles from shore. It is important to recognize the relationship between technology and human involvement. Although technology has made it possible to search for shipwrecks using a variety of tools, human involvement is still necessary. Archaeologists excavate shipwrecks because they find them, determine their position, and record their findings. These records must be kept by law so that future generations can learn about the human involvement, the types of artifacts found, and what the shipwrecks were used for.
The public has a variety of resources to support the preservation of our nation’s maritime heritage. The state of north Carolina is particularly aware of the significance of its coastal communities and all of its natural resources. In particular, the coastal communities have been working hard to protect their natural resources, promoting education and research into archeology and other relevant topics.
Some of the best research efforts in this area have been conducted by private organizations supported by the National Park Service, the United States Indian Tribes of Florida, and the United States Department of Interior. In particular, the NGS takes an inventory of historic shipwrecks throughout the country each year, publishes a report on its findings, and allows the public to search for their favorite sites using a simple map. Similarly, the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art and the Seaport Museum of Learning have joined forces to digitize some of their earlier artifacts and create a web site that allows visitors to search for specific terms. The Museum of Natural History and the Northeast Mississippi Research Center have also created an online gallery that provides information about archeology, historic shipwrecks, and other pertinent Native American and African-American cultural materials.
Understanding one’s own historic or ethnic background goes a long way in the understanding of one’s cultural heritage. For example, the coastal South Carolina towns of Beaufort and Blairsville have a rich maritime heritage. Many boats, especially wharfs and schooners, were built here during the colonial period. Many of these were used to haul supplies and build the small canals that connected North and South Carolina. Today, many of these structures are on display at museums and art galleries, but the history of their construction and use remains largely a mystery.
One of the most important legacies of maritime heritage is in the form of archeology. Marine archeology basically involves analyzing any archeological remains that have been found on the seaside or at coastal sites since the historical times. These can include shipwrecks, settlements, ritual artifacts and others. The importance of archeology can be seen today through the many marine archeology events and programs that are organized all over the world including the International Marine Archaeological Program (IMAP), hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
Another important part of maritime heritage resources is in the form of a management plan. A management plan is a blueprint that outlines the conservation, protection, promotion and development of the distinctive marine heritage resources of the coastal area. A management plan can address a wide range of activities such as building structures, dredging and other relevant infrastructure and also identifies roles and responsibilities of all relevant parties. In addition, it lays down guidelines for legally binding agreements.
Since the early days, the seaside has been a significant part of human interaction and the evolution of civilizations. Sea-life archeology studies reveal evidence of human habitation on the aquatic surface of the coastal region since ancient times. There is a long history of human presence on the maritime heritage of the coastlines, going back to the Neolithic age. Another important archeological discovery is pottery with stylized body figures which were produced during the Old Stone Age. The oldest finds are around thirty thousand years old, hinting to the fact that human activity on the coasts was prominent even in the distant past.
One of the major challenges faced today is dealing with maritime heritage issues that involve protection and management. This is done by undertaking a feasibility study for an area of special significance. A feasibility study determines the needs and situations that could affect the use of a certain resource or area of the coastal zone. Crucial factors are studied in this stage including legal protection and management plans.
An important aspect of the protection and management of maritime heritage resources involves the identification, evaluation and protection against threats and risks. Identification covers all the processes involved to develop a comprehensive and long term management strategy for any given area or resource. The next step is evaluation, which refers to identifying what can be done to protect the heritage in question. In this process, historical information and statistical data are used to assess the condition of the resource or historic area. The third phase of the study deals with threats and risks, which include a description of what could happen if the resources and areas are affected.
Most maritime heritage organizations prefer not to make their own designation or decorations. Instead, they often rely on maritime organizations and associations which have made official designation or decorations. In many cases, they also prefer to make such official designation or decorations within their own organization, as it helps them to create a united effort and show consistency in the application of their policies and practices. Some associations with historic shipwrecks also prefer not to take on the issue of designations and destinations. It is believed that naming a location or marking a place without official designation does not support local communities in their efforts to preserve their heritage.
Designations and Determinations of Maritime Heritage As stated at the beginning of the article, different ways of approaching the issue are recommended. Identifying an entity to designate as the legal owner is one option; however, there are other considerations to consider including whether or not the entity actually has legal authority to control or manage the designated area or location. In addition, there are numerous arguments that involve the effect of a designation on the economic viability of the marina, which is directly related to the cost of incorporating, constructing and maintaining a marina. There are a number of potential solutions when it comes to marine heritage designation, and none of them should be dismissed as being unimportant or frivolous.
Hello, my name’s Marvin Armstrong, maritime seaman and sailor by trade.
This blog, although it wasn't meant to be a blog, but rather the site about my maritime interest, has now expanded to be an expression of my own lifestyle itself where I cover my interests and discoveries.