Taiwan, France ink marine archeology pact

More undersea artifacts such as those found off Penghu County in 2005 are likely to be discovered under the Taiwan-France underwater archeology cooperation pact.

Taiwan’s Headquarters Administration of Cultural Heritage under the Council for Cultural Affairs and France-based Department for Underwater and Undersea Archeological Research signed a four-year agreement March 6 to cooperate on underwater archeology and preservation of ocean assets.

The pact is an extension of one signed in 2007, aiming to jointly train undersea archeology personnel and promote bilateral exchanges on relevant education and publications.

“As an island, Taiwan has abundant marine cultural assets,” Wang Shou-lai, director of the HACH said, noting that in the past, the research focus was on terrestrial archeology and the preservation of historic architecture, with little attention to underwater artifacts.

Since the remains of a shipwreck were found in Penghu County in 2005, however, along with frequent reports of pottery fragments found underwater, the government has begun marine excavations, he added.

Important directions for the conservation of underwater cultural resources include the promotion of marine archeology and oceanographic research, as well as the training of relevant personnel, Wang noted.

Based in Marseilles, the Department for Underwater and Undersea Archeological Research is an affiliate of the French Ministry of Culture. Aiming to “manage all subaquatic and submarine archeological activities,” it is the world’s first national agency dedicated to the preservation of undersea cultural assets, the CCA said.

Grace Kuo
Write to Grace Kuo at [email protected]