Underwater Sites

four scuba divers swimming above rocky bottom of the ocean
Channel Islands National Park

NPS Photo


National Parks preserve a wide range of archeological sites, including many that are under water. Underwater archeology is a relatively new field, as technology allowing scientists to conduct detailed studies of submerged sites only became widely available in the 1960s. Since that time, National Park Service scientists have been on the cutting edge of investigating, documenting, studying, and preserving shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources.

Submerged cultural resources in our coastal and Great Lakes national parks include shipwrecks that span hundreds of years, from Spanish treasure ships to WWII battleships. Careful study of these accidental time capsules can unlock their secrets and give us a fascinating glimpse into the past. Underwater archeology in National Parks focuses on documenting and studying submerged resources while leaving shipwrecks and other artifacts intact and in place for both park visitors and future scientists.


Last updated: May 23, 2017


  • Site Index