"Chinese Shipwrecks, Treasure Hunters and the History of Underwater Cultural Heritage Regimes" by Prof. Steven Gallagher

This seminar will consider the impact the discovery, recovery and sale of Chinese shipwrecks and their cargoes by treasure hunters has had in China and internationally on the development of policy and law intended to protect the underwater cultural heritage and in particular shipwrecks. The seminar will provide an introduction to the law intended to protect underwater cultural heritage in Hong Kong, China and internationally. The introduction will consider the history of shipwrecks and their recovery and the development of the law of salvage. The seminar will then continue with discussion of the history of wreck and the law in Hong Kong. The next part will consider the great porcelain treasures recovered from South East Asia and the effect these had on China’s domestic law and policy regarding underwater cultural heritage, and the international response. The seminar will then consider China’s recent commitment to discovery, identification and protection of underwater cultural heritage both in its own waters and globally. The seminar will conclude with comment on recent issues involving wreck recovery in South East Asia and questions on the future for policy and law affecting underwater cultural heritage and in particular wreck in the region.

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