Department of Underwater and Underwater Archaeological Research
The Department of Underwater and Underwater Archaeological Research (DRASSM) is a service with national competence based in Marseille. In accordance with the Heritage Code, it is responsible for implementing, in mainland France and overseas, legislation on maritime cultural property, in liaison with the administrations involved in the action of the State at sea (Maritime Prefectures, Maritime Affairs Directorate, Customs...).
- inventory, study, protect, preserve and enhance the submerged archaeological heritage of all marine waters under French jurisdiction;
- provides scientific and technical advice and control on underwater archaeological sites;
- contributes to training Diving archaeologists in the conduct of archaeological excavations: reception on construction sites, resources of the documentary pole, co-monitoring of masters, etc.;
- manages collections archaeological objects from the maritime public domain and organise their deposit with museums.
Its areas of intervention
At sea, the Drassm’s field of intervention is particularly vast:
- it covers more than 10,000 km of coastline, including 5,533 for the metropolis;
- it stretches straight from the shore line known as the "base line", up to 24 miles from the coast, a little over 44 km offshore.
Application in domestic law of the legal principles established by the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (Convention ratified by France on 7 February 2013) will also extend the Drassm’s field of competence to the entire French exclusive economic zone, that is, more than 11 million square kilometres of maritime space,
With decades of experience in exercising discipline, the Drassm is regularly solicited to carry out expertise abroad (Brunei, Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Malta, Pakistan, Philippines, Solomon Islands, USA...).
Drassm can exercise its expertise on archaeological operations carried out in fresh water if the prefect of the region so requests. He can ensure the scientific and technical control.
Each year, the Drassm reports on its activities to the National Council for Archaeological Research (CNRA), within the Commission for Underwater Operations.