Dr Arturo Rey da Silva

Lecturer in Heritage; Marine Archaeologist; Cultural Heritage; Archaeology


Dr Arturo Rey da Silva is a maritime archaeologist and heritage researcher, with large experience in the field of international cooperation, capacity-building, and heritage diplomacy. Between 2011 and 2021 he worked at UNESCO giving technical assistance to advance research and capacities in maritime archaeology and heritage protection, as well as guiding heritage policy development, notably in Africa, the Arab Region, Central Asia, and Latin America. He got his Ph.D. in January 2021 from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, after undertaking a research fellowship at the Spanish School of History and Archaeology in Rome, with a thesis that looked into the institutionalization of underwater archaeology within international cooperation schemes, and its contribution to sustainable development.

He is a visiting lecturer in Heritage at several universities (i.e. The University of Alexandria in Egypt, the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, The University of Cadiz in Spain, or the University Externado in Colombia) and is a Member of the ICOMOS International Committee for Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH), the ICOMOS Spanish National Commission, and the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Global Expert Group. 

Dr Rey da Silva joined the University of Edinburgh in 2021 as an Honor Frost Scholar in Marine Cultural Heritage researching the contribution of marine heritage research and management to the sustainability of coastal communities, notably in East Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.  

Since January 2024 he has been a Lecturer in Heritage at the University of Edinburgh and Co-Director of the MSc programme on Cultural Heritage Futures, at the Edinburgh Futures Institute. 

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Bureau Member of the ICOMOS International Committee of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH)
  • Member of the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Global Group of Experts
  • Technical Advisor to the Honor Frost Foundation Steering Committee
  • Member of the Scientific Committee, PERICLES Project
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Maritime Archaeology

Postgraduate teaching

  • Heritage Places, Policies and Diplomacies (fusion online) (EFIE11220)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

  • Marine Cultural Heritage. Values, Management & Preservation
  • Heritage and Archaeology within Cultural Policies & Diplomacy
  • Marine Heritage and Global Challenges
  • Maritime Archaeology and Ethnography

Current PhD students supervised

  • Wycliffe Omondi - Cultural Heritage Conservation as a Stimulus for Sustainable Development along the Coast of Kenya (Secondary Supervisor)

Research summary


  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • Mediterranean
  • Near East


  • Ancient Civilisations
  • Culture
  • Landscapes & Monuments
  • Material Culture
  • Politics
  • Society


  • Prehistory
  • Early Historic
  • Antiquity
  • Medieval
  • Twentieth Century & After

Research interests

My research interests range from the understanding of local communities’ traditional technical, conceptual and spiritual uses of maritime spaces to the study of heritage conceptualization within maritime groups, its institutionalization through heritage diplomacy processes, and the role played by maritime archaeology in the development of intercultural dialogue, cooperation, and sustainable development policies.

I am particularly interested in the relation between the past human interactions with the marine environment and present societies as well as in the way this can contribute to designing strategies to face current global challenges.

Further general areas of interest are:

  • Maritime Archaeology
  • Marine Cultural Heritage Preservation
  • Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development
  • Heritage Diplomacy and Cultural Internationalism
  • Maritime Ethnography