William & Mary Law Review


This Note argues that American treasure salvage law should implement the modern legal techniques of Alternative Dispute Resolution—specifically arbitration—to address the modern problems surrounding treasure salvage law. Part I of this Note provides an overview of the law governing treasure salvage law. This includes common law principles called the law of finds and the law of salvage as well as the governing United States law and international treaties. Part II will outline the problems with the current standing of treasure salvage law, particularly how it fails to address modern cultural heritage considerations such as scientific advancement and the proliferation of commercial salvors. Part III outlines a proposal suggesting that the United States adopt a policy of mandatory prelitigation arbitration among all interested parties for each salvaged shipwreck. This Note argues that mandated arbitration will resolve issues with cultural heritage, commercial salvage, and the rights of all key stakeholders in a more efficient manner than litigation.

This abstract has been taken from the author's introduction.