Every shipwreck has an innate value. To some people, that value may rest in the fabled treasures that one might hope to recover and sell after hundreds or even thousands of years lost at sea. But to others, the ultimate worth cannot be measured in precious metals and gems. It’s the splintered ship itself, its everyday cargo, and the hidden stories of the people who once sailed on it that matter more because they can offer a tangible connection to the nautical traditions of our ancestors.

Underwater archaeologists dive into the depths to study our submerged cultural heritage. However, this is a job made more complicated by treasure hunters and looters who take artifacts from these fragile sites for personal or commercial gain. 

Hear from National Geographic Explorer Lisa Briggs about why our growing fascination with shipwrecks may be putting them at risk and how modern maritime laws seek to prioritize conservation over profit.

The National Geographic Society, committed to illuminating and protecting the wonder of our world, has funded Explorer Lisa Briggs's work. Learn more about the Society’s support of Explorers.

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