Michele Stefanile

Investigador Senior - Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II


Although underwater archeology is no longer a young and pioneering discipline, its operational scenario and the challenges associated with it are growing year by year. The exploration of wrecks, often at great depth, has long been one of the sectors in which pure research, by archaeologists and historians, has been frequently followed, with the necessary safety measures, by the opening of the sites to the public and by the development of underwater tourist itineraries.

The field of archeology of submerged structures, however, is perhaps the most promising: the archeology of submerged landscapes, of cities on the seabed, of ancient buildings under the waves constitutes a field of exceptional interest from a scientific and archaeological point of view; at the same time, the possibility of exploring, usually at shallow depths, a submerged Pompeii, a real Atlantis and an entire archaeological park at the bottom of the sea offers new incredible possibilities.

Unique sites in the world such as the submerged city of Baia, in Italy, but also contexts of villas, ports or other ancient constructions, on the seabed, can be considered at the same time as the most interesting challenges for underwater archeology and as the best opportunities for marine tourism.

The tourist visit of ancient submerged ruins requires adequate rules, procedures and tools, best practices to be followed both in conservation and protection, as well as in the way of using the heritage. But the future is already here.