As England's heritage policy is shaped around us, it is vital that there is debate, and some consensus, among the maritime archaeological community on core management questions. These include approaches to degrading underwater sites, how to deal with shipwrecks threatened by development, and crucially, who should be driving these decisions. This paper argues that there is a need for self-critical analysis of the meaning of ‘heritage’. It problematises the notion of professional archaeologists as ‘guardians of the archaeological record’ and the conception of ‘heritage’ formed without reference to ideas of the past being a product of the present and, therefore, the potential for the production of multiple pasts.
© 2007 The Author