British Archaeological Awards; The loss of the Mendi; Knighthood…

British Archaeological Awards

Jan Meulmeester and Hanson Aggregates Marine Limited together with the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association have been awarded Archaeological Discovery of the Year Award for 2008 as a result of their discovery and subsequent investigation of a group of Palaeolithic hand axes from the North Sea off Great Yarmouth. The finds were reported through the BMAPA Protocol for Reporting Finds of Archaeological Interest. English Heritage and the Dutch government archaeology services also received the judges’ praise for their collaborative approach in dealing with the discovery.  See the British Archaeological Awards and Wessex Archaeology websites for further details.

Martin Bell was a finalist in The Best Scholarly Archaeological Book Award for Prehistoric Coastal Communities: The Mesolithic in western Britain, a CBA publication based on recent work in the Severn Estuary. The winners were Thomas McErlean and Norman Crothers for Harnessing the Tides: The Early Medieval Tide Mills at Nendrum Monastery, Strangford Lough, the publication of their work on the earliest known tidal mills (619 AD).

The Time Team Special, Britain’s Drowned World, looking at archaeological discoveries under the North Sea and English Channel, was a finalist for The Best Archaeological TV/Radio Programme Award.

The loss of the Mendi

The poet Jackie Kay will remember the sinking of the SS Mendi in the English Channel in 1917 at 11:00am on 19 November 2008 on Radio 4. See the R4 website for details.

 Knighthood for a maritime heritage philanthropist

The Monaco-based Israeli shipping magnate and billionaire Sammy Offer is to be awarded an honorary knighthood this week in recognition of his philanthropic donations. Mr Ofer, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, donated £20m in April towards the cost of a new wing for the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. This was followed by a £3.3m donation towards the cost of restoring the fire damaged Cutty Sark.

Credit crunches archaeology jobs?

Those members whose companies are currently struggling to cope with the severe downturn in terrestrial fieldwork volumes will not be surprised to read the following:

The Daily Mail reported on the 13 November that archaeology vacancies have been growing over the past few years, and that around 7,000 are now employed in field archaeology units, local authorities, education and consultancies as well as in museums, the National Trust and English Heritage. However the British Archaeological Jobs Resource told them that competition is fierce at the moment with a recent position for a field archaeologist attracting more than 200 replies.

Was the Mary Rose sunk by enemy action?

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth led by Dr Dominic Fontana are reported to have developed a theory that the Mary Rose was sunk after being holed by a cannonball fired by a French galley and not as a result of an accident. The theory will be aired on television on November 24 when a new documentary entitled “What really sunk the Mary Rose” is screened on the History Channel.


An interesting new interactive visualisation application for recreational divers called WreckSight has been produced by the ADUS. It is based upon geophysical surveys of the World War One wrecks of Scapa Flow and further information can be found on their website.

Odyssey Marine Exploration

MAG members will see that there is a short article on the activities of this company in the attached Bulletin. Anyone wanting to keep track of their vessels in UK waters can often access this information without charge through the website ShipAIS.


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