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The dataset has been developped under the MACHU EU project, involving seven EU MS (BE, DE, NL, PL, PT, UK, SE). The MACHU GIS database provides information about wrecks, sites and objects underwater. MACHU is an applications on Underwater Cultural Heritage providing historic and archaeological information. MACHU is not intended to give exact positions of wrecks an site, in the aim of ensuring their protection.
The dataset has been developped under the SPLASHCOS EU project, involving 20 EU Member States plus Norway, Russia, Ukraine and Switzerland. SPLASHCOS - Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf - is a four-year research network (2009 to 2013) funded by the European Commission under its COST program (Cooperation in Science and Technology) as COST Action TD0902. Its aim is to bring together archaeologists, marine geoscientists, heritage agencies, and commercial and industrial organizations interested in researching, managing and preserving the archives of archaeological and palaeoclimatic information locked up on the drowned prehistoric landscapes of the European continental shelf, and to disseminate that knowledge to a wider audience.
The dataset relies on the data collected and processed by the “Service hydrographique et océanographique de la marine” (SHOM) under the product “Wrecks and obstructions”. The product was developed by SHOM to identify objects emerging from the seabed and likely to hinder navigation. The EMODNet dataset focuses on objects of the class wrecks as other obstructions are not relevant from a cultural heritage point of view. Wrecks identified in the dataset are made of all or parts of a grounded or sunk ship or plane. This product covers the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the mainland and French overseas, in which SHOM has a role of centralizing and disseminating nautical information at the national level. In order to provide uniform coverage, present in the English waters of the Channel Islands and in the maritime part of Monaco are also provided. The information used for this product comes from a variety of sources. One source is SHOM internal data collection: mainly surveys carried out by the Hydro-Oceanographic Groups of SHOM; as well as elements appearing on nautical charts in service which have not been surveyed; or information generated by the use of spatial, aerial or lidar surveys. For this product, SHOM also gathers data from external sources: the national Navy (certain vessels of the French navy equipped with underwater investigation equipment carry out interventions by divers and transmit the results of their explorations to SHOM); public bodies: in particular, les Directions Départementale des Territoires et de la Mer (DDTM); port organizations; divers associations (e.g. GRIEME); the DRASSM (department of underwater and underwater archaeological research); or renowned individuals in the world of scuba diving. Attributes include information on the location, the precision of the location, the depth (least deapth) and the precision of the depth, the length of the object, the name, the characteristics of the object after sinking as well as characteristics of the ship before sinking, circumstances of the sinking, the type of ship/wreck. The additional processing carried out by Emodnet consisted in translating the available information from French to English (through partly-automated translation), extracting the year of the sinking when available and calculating the distance to coast. Last update of the product by SHOM was made in November 2020.