Mention underwater archeological treasures and most people will think of shipwrecks full of chests of gold from far corners of the earth.
However, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), together with the Egyptian government, is now planning to show the world that underwater archeology can be much more, by building the world's first underwater museum to show the rich cultural and historical heritage that can be found under the Bay of Alexandria in northern Egypt.
The museum will be built by the government of Egypt, while UNESCO has established an International Scientific Advisory Committee to help lay the groundwork. The committee is expected to start preparatory work this month.
The decision by the Egyptian government comes amid growing international awareness of the need to protect archeological sites located underwater.
UNESCO has established the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, which is expected to become operational by the end of 2008 after its ratification by 20 states.