Marine Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development

Lamont, Mark (2022). Marine Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development. In: Cross, Charlotte and Giblin, John D. eds. Critical Approaches to Heritage for Development. Rethinking Development. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 144–158.



This contribution aims to situate Marine Cultural Heritage (MCH) within emerging visions of ocean science, economy, and conservation. Together these visions are shaping MCH’s potential to contribute to sustainable development. The concept of MCH that is fast gaining visibility is based in biocultural heritage with a socially engaged agenda. This agenda is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in some instances, whereas in others MCH is connected with the professional and community networks that make up the United Nations’ Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Marine archaeology’s role as consultants in the intensification of ocean industrialisation known as the Blue Economy, an economic growth model, broadens the rational for funding new initiatives in MCH research, particularly those that are co-designed with local maritime communities in areas of scientific and industrial significance. In this contribution, special mention is made of funding networks, such as the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund’s ‘Rising from the Depths’ hub which was active in supporting MCH initiatives in the western Indian Ocean. Such research hubs are explicitly engaged with sustainable development and seek to create measurable and non-measurable values through making MCH more visible at local, national, and global scales.

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