Maritime Renaissance 2020

Scope & Theme

Maritime Renaissance 2020


For centuries, connections between countries and cultures were made over, and by, water. Many European countries have a rich maritime history and the common maritime heritage that remains underwater indicates this. For decades our underwater cultural heritage has been a virtually unknown and unused source of information for the reconstruction of our past.

The purpose of the Conference is to present new findings and ideas about the traces of international shipping trade routes which crossed the most important navigational directions of the Adriatic Sea in late medieval and post medieval period. Today a large number of objects are found along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea travelling from today’s Germany, Austria, Italy, Turkey and others countries, whereby a broad picture of the economy of the time can be obtained. There have also been changes in the sailing techniques and navigation which will be dealt at the conference sessions as well.

Furthermore, the Conference will be devoted to new discoveries of sinking ships and their cargo, ports and harbour villages which testify the great progress of maritime trade. Recent researches show that the period from 16th to 18th century is a time of great resurgence in the navigation directions through which the transport of more diverse commodities begun. Trading between Europe and East expanded rapidly and the shipping trade route became increasingly busy and important.

Shipwrecks are a unique archaeological resource and can provide a wealth of historical information. It is also worth remembering that Europe’s history is intimately linked with its maritime heritage.

Giving the outstanding interdisciplinary character, the representatives of different institutions will be invited in order to better and more accurately interpret the importance of shipping trade routes from the economic and cultural point of view.

The conference will also address the issues of the implementation of the important legal instrument the UNESCO’s 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage as well as the improving the effectiveness of measures at international, regional and national level for the preservation of the underwater cultural heritage.

The Conference is hosted by the City of  Zadar and it is worth mentioning that in 2017 the defence system of Zadar, together with Šibenik fortress of St Nicholas, is listed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage as two of the six components of the transnational series of the cultural asset of the Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries, together with fortified cities of Bergamo, Peschiera del Garda, city fortress in Palmanova in Italy and fortified city Kotor in Montenegro.
The defence system of Zadar, which during that time was the military and administrative centre of Dalmatia, is the largest and most powerful fortress in the Adriatic and a key point of defence on the maritime route between Venice and Corfu as well as a point of threats by the Ottoman Empire from the land.

The Conference is organized with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the Central European Initiative Fund.

The Conference is open to the public and no fees will be charged.