Underwater landscape (UWL)

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Definition by BalticRIM Project (Laura Seesmeri, University of Turku)

The underwater landscape is the area under the surface of the water and the way people directly or indirectly perceive and imagine it. Its features are the result of the interaction between people and nature, reflecting various dimensions of time.

The underwater landscape discloses the connection people have with the sea. It is part of the environment that is perceived, imagined and lived either directly or indirectly by means of various acts, senses and associations.

The underwater landscape consists of environmental and natural elements, flora and fauna, traces left by human activity, such as wrecks, marine battlefields, waterways, harbours, maritime industry, and general traces of the history of settlement and the practising of religion.

The underwater landscape is the shape of the sea bed, the elements of the landscape at the bottom, the features of intermediate water, and the light reflected from the surface as well as traces of human life and maritime cultural heritage, which is either partly or fully under the surface of the water.

Understanding underwater landscapes gives a wide perspective on the connection between people and the sea, the confluence of the past and present, and the assessment of environmental changes and sustainable development by taking natural, cultural and social aspects of landscape into account.


Vrouw Maria UWL Small.jpg

Underwater landscape at the wreck site of Vrouw Maria, Finland. Image is based on the multibeamsonardata by Meritaito Oy. Copyright: Finnish Heritage Agency.