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Maritime Legacies and the Law

Effective Legal Governance of WWI Wrecks

Craig Forrest

The recent centenary of WWI has prompted a shift in the way attention is focused on legacy shipwrecks. This timely book considers the development of the laws that apply to these wrecks and the issues that surround them, and deftly analyses the adequacy of the existing legal framework to fulfil its promise of protecting legacy wrecks for future generations as historical and archaeological resources, memorials and, most importantly, as maritime war graves.
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Chapter 2: The legacy

Craig Forrest


WWI has left a vast, dispersed and distinctive physical legacy - particularly rich in wrecks. This chapter considers how we should value this legacy today in the context also of how this legacy was valued in the past, and whether those past values can be reconciled with emerging values. These values have changed over time, and where once these wrecks were looked on as merely a hazard or as a source of scrap metal, their historical and archaeological value has emerged. That many of these legacy wrecks entomb the remains of their crew or are associated with the loss of lives with the sinking, and should thus be treated with the respect and the sanctity they deserve as a ‘maritime war grave’ or memorial, is perhaps the strongest emerging value.

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