THE ENHANCEMENT OF UNDERWATER CULTURAL HERITAGE ASSETS USING AUGMENTED REALITY (AR)
Τhe development in the fields of Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) management and Maritime Archaeology, yields an interdisciplinary and creative academic framework, such as the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector that has been proved to build intelligent systems and applications. However, the ways to fully make use of these technologies are still being explored, as their potential have not been exploited yet. Underwater archaeological sites, semi (/or fully) submerged settlements, ancient ports and shipwrecks, unlike land sites, are not accessible to public due to their special (sub) marine environment and depth. In this paper, an innovative research idea of using Augmented Reality (AR) for maintaining the memory and the information of underwater archaeological sites, is presented. Although the “artificial” visual documentation cannot replace the authentic values of the underwater tangible heritage, the AR technology can contribute to the protection of the intangible properties and the conquered knowledge of the past of a place. This research work will focus, among other case studies, on the (semi) submerged fortifications and their contiguous contents of the acropolis of Halai in east Lokris, Greece. Hence, along with the climate change that may lead more antiquities covered by water during the following years, the advances in the communication field and the up-coming 5G and cloud technologies will make the idea fully applicable, contributing to the enhancement of the coastal and the underwater archaeological remains.