The database of Southeast Asian Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage (SEAMUCH) is a component of the Southeast Asian Collaborative Programme on Underwater Archaeology. This collaborative programme aims to improve some problematic situations concerning Southeast Asian underwater archaeology, including the lack of proper data resulting from commercial salvage works, and the lack of the practice of underwater archaeology in some countries.
The SEAMUCH database project is a result of the Consultative Meeting on Southeast Asian Collaborative Programme on Underwater Archaeology held in Thailand in September 2012. It was agreed at the meeting that a database would enhance the knowledge in maritime and underwater cultural heritage while promoting awareness on the protection of the heritage in the region.
Currently, there is a preliminary dataset of shipwreck sites in Southeast Asian countries that includes shipwreck data from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam. While the existing inventory provides a fundamental idea of resources in each country, the development of the accuracy of its contents in terms of quality and quantity is needed.
During the 1st phase of the SEAMUCH database project, the scope and outline of the database have been established together with partners from SEAMEO countries. During the 2nd phase, the project focused on data gathering, data inputting, as well as building the database system. The 3rd phase shall make it operational online.
SEAMEO SPAFA has been active in the field of underwater archaeology since 1978, offering a number of ad-hoc training courses and meetings to Southeast Asian heritage professionals.
At different gatherings, heritage professionals have expressed the need for a more concrete regional programme in underwater archaeology, highlighting the role of a regional database of maritime and underwater cultural heritage as well as capacity-building and awareness-raising activities. Recognizing the need, it is necessary for a regional organization such as SEAMEO SPAFA to initiate the establishment of a comprehensive regional programme on underwater archaeology in order to promote an effective management and the study of maritime and underwater cultural heritage for their protection. The SEAMUCH database is a significant component of this regional programme.
- Collect data on various types of maritime and underwater cultural heritage including wreck sites as well as maritime sites, ports and jetties, and fresh water underwater sites
- Heighten the status of underwater archaeology knowledge in the region
- Provide a basis for future collaboration and better maritime and underwater cultural heritage protection and management under regional cooperation
Methods to Achieve Objectives
The SEAMUCH database will acquire voluntary information from all SEAMEO countries. It will identify maritime and underwater cultural heritage sites in Southeast Asia as well as their collections.
SEAMEO SPAFA will work with participating institutions to establish the database, and provide some financial assistance to partner institutions to help facilitate the collection and provision of data.
- Members of relevant cultural heritage units in SEAMEO member countries
- Researchers and individuals interested in Southeast Asian underwater archaeology and underwater cultural heritage management and protection
Online regional maritime and underwater cultural heritage database
- Consolidated and updated information on maritime and underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia
- Enhanced regional capacity and cooperation in underwater archaeology and proper protection and management system of underwater cultural heritage.