Cross-cultural analysis of the policy, application and effect of legislation concerning archaeological sites in reservoirs, and implications for future reservoir works and site monitoring
Stammitti, Emily Jean
MetadataShow full item record
The number of dams and reservoirs in the world is at an all-time high, with global increases expected as water shortages, populations and needs for electricity grow. Despite this high number of existent and planned reservoirs, the archaeological sites submerged in reservoirs have been largely ignored saving predevelopment, project-specific archaeological salvage campaigns. The overlooking of submerged archaeological features derives from ideas that sites in reservoirs are destroyed: a notion that continues to permeate discussions surrounding archaeological features in reservoir flood zones. Heritage legislation, at both the domestic and international level, continues to neglect the pressing issue of monitoring the condition of submerged archaeology. This dissertation analyses the domestic heritage legislation of three specific countries (Britain, the USA and Egypt) and heritage legislation at the international level. Effects of submergence on diverse archaeological features from those countries are also taken into account via the data collected from varying types of archaeological investigation: the desk-based assessment, underwater archaeological fieldwork, and non-intrusive terrestrial fieldwork. Analysis of current legal structures suggests that mechanisms with which to monitor sites and provide mitigating measures would be simple to implement and maintain. Data collected through underwater archaeological fieldwork in Britain and terrestrial archaeological fieldwork in the USA suggests that not all types of archaeological sites are at risk of destruction due to submergence, leading to a classification of vulnerable features, determined on the basis of location in the reservoir and construction materials and methods. Mitigating and monitoring measures of these vulnerable feature classifications can be used in future reservoir planning and archaeological conservation efforts, when combined with changes to regional and domestic heritage policy. Final conclusions focus on the need to classify archaeology in reservoirs as "submerged landscapes", an already recognized underwater archaeological category, thereby helping to grant the long-needed protection, awareness and monitoring these features need throughout their duration in situ.