The Future of the Maritime Heritage in Asia

1Suvarnabhumi Studies Center

2Thammasat University

3Centre for Maritime History and Culture Research, Dalian Maritime University

In recent years, the concept of Maritime Cultural Heritage has permeated deeply into the general heritage discourse. Ancient societies frequently choose to live at the interface of land and sea, as sea and waterscapes provided favourable conditions for cultivation, communication, connection, ceremonial ritual, recreation, and possibly, pleasure. Maritime Cultural Heritage thus concerns the legacy of tangible and intangible cultural inheritances of past human activities on, and in relationships with, our oceans, seas, interconnected waterways and adjacent locales. Maritime Cultural Heritage therefore includes, but is not limited to, the built environment, social practices, customs, traditions, knowledge about daily life and the transformative biocultural processes used to create or enhance maritime cultural landscapes such as ports, harbours, canals, irrigation channels, and drains, as well as the fish weirs and aquaculture facilities used to sustain life.

In recent decades, research on maritime-related topics has continued to enhance our knowledge of the past and encouraged a deeper understanding of the unique Asian region. Once the edict of colonialism, archaeological and heritage practices now form a foundation of shared and mutual understanding of the past through cultural and scientific methodologies. Policy and legal matters are no longer separated from other heritage discourses. A new wave of maritime biocultural concepts pertinent to researchers, policymakers, and practitioners reflect novel holistic approaches to Maritime Cultural Heritage that includes indigenous and local community engagement. This roundtable session invites subject matter experts from around the region to come together to discuss a diverse range of Asia's Maritime Cultural Heritage. Presentations on material cultural concepts and theory, technical terms and terminology usage, heritage values and valuation, and celebration of international collaboration are welcome. We aim to stimulate discussions on developing a framework for future Maritime Cultural Heritage research.