Archaeological Services in support of Marine Designation: Online Survey; Purton hulks; IfA consultation responses; Swash in the news again; Odyssey archaeologist calls for full excavation of HMS Victory; Viking anchor?; SS Great Britain; Oil spill may threaten underwater heritage in the Gulf of Mexico; Medieval Dunwich; Pakefield in Nature; Historic wreck demolished by navy explosives; Conservator wanted


 

Archaeological Services in support of Marine Designation: Online Survey

Since 2002, English Heritage has commissioned and managed UK-wide archaeological diving services on behalf of the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and on behalf of Historic Scotland, Cadw and the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland.

The current arrangement for archaeological diving services expires on 31st March 2011 though there is provision to extend the service for two additional one-year periods. There is an ongoing requirement to utilise maritime archaeological services in the assessment and management of all types of submerged monuments in order to secure appropriate site protection within UK waters.

In consultation with the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites, the other UK Heritage Agencies and MAG, English Heritage has created an online survey to guide the planning of future maritime designation advice. The survey is open to all and can be accessed through the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/marinedesignation 

Purton hulks

The controversy concerning the hulks on the bank of the River Severn at Purton in Gloucestershire may have been settled with the news that one of the hulks, the Harriett, has been scheduled as an ancient monument.

IfA consultation responses

A number of marine-themed IfA consultation responses to which MAG has contributed will shortly be available for download from this Blog.

Swash in the news again

The Swash Channel site in the approaches to Poole Harbour is currently subject to a major excavation led by Bournemouth University with funding from English Heritage. This unidentified wreck, which dates to 1629 or later, has well preserved ship carvings. These rare finds may be the earliest found in the UK, probably predating those found on the 1641 built Swan excavated off Mull in Scotland. The aim of the Swash excavation is partly to remove the site from the Heritage at Risk Register by recovering those parts of the hull and a carved rudder that are currently at risk.

Odyssey archaeologist calls for full excavation of HMS Victory

In response to the ongoing UK government consultation exercise, one of the archaeologists working for the US salvage company Odyssey Marine Exploration has called for the 1744 wreck of the Victory to be fully excavated. However, it is not clear how Odyssey would fund the huge cost of the deep water archaeological work required, particularly as serious doubt has been cast upon their claims that the ship was carrying a valuable cargo.

Viking anchor?

A medieval or early medieval anchor found on Skye is to return to the island following analysis by National Museums Scotland.

SS Great Britain

This month has seen the 40th anniversary of the return of this famous ship to Bristol. Described as “a ship-shaped lump of iron, rust and scrap” by one of the tugboat skippers who guided it home, the ship has been subject to extensive restoration and now attracts over 150,000 visitors per year.

Oil spill may threaten underwater heritage in the Gulf of Mexico

Archaeologists are concerned that the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster may contaminate and damage archaeological sites in the path of the slick.

Medieval Dunwich

MAG understands that the submerged medieval town of Dunwich is to be the subject of a forthcoming TV documentary.

Pakefield in Nature

An important paper concerning the homo britannicus finds at Pakefield in Suffolk has been published in Nature. These finds have important potential implications for submerged prehistoric archaeology in the North Sea.

Historic wreck demolished by navy explosives

Reports have reached MAG via the NAS that a 19th century wreck on the Town Bar off Padstow in the Camel Estuary, Cornwall has been partially demolished by the Royal Navy, presumably because it represented a hazard to navigation. The wreck, which is reportedly thought to be that of the barque Antoinette, is understood to have been recorded on behalf of English Heritage prior to demolition. Further information on this from MAG members would be appreciated.

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One thought on “Archaeological Services in support of Marine Designation: Online Survey; Purton hulks; IfA consultation responses; Swash in the news again; Odyssey archaeologist calls for full excavation of HMS Victory; Viking anchor?; SS Great Britain; Oil spill may threaten underwater heritage in the Gulf of Mexico; Medieval Dunwich; Pakefield in Nature; Historic wreck demolished by navy explosives; Conservator wanted

  1. Friends of Purton press release in response to recent round of Public Body reforms

    Today has marked what surely must be a considered triumphant turning point for the future of the Purton Hulks by the recent release of governmental decisions regarding spending reforms within the Public Sector.

    Firstly English Heritage retains its independent position on the grounds of providing a technical function, a function, which we the Friends will continue to ensure is being effectively utilised here at Purton.

    Gone is the minuscule voice of the Advisory Committee on Historic Wrecks, who’s English functions are to be transferred direct to English Heritage. Once again the Friends value this excellent decision, as a proactive step towards accountability and increased transparency. Furthermore this decision clearly defines the boundaries of responsibility by removing tiers of unnecessary bureaucracy.

    Gone too is the sparsely auditable voice Advisory Committee on Historic Wrecks whose apparently vital functions remain to be divvied up following the slice of the mighty quango axe and the fall of192 government funded organisation.

    More importantly British Waterways are to be abolished as a public corporation and are to be replaced by something more akin to a national trust for the waterways. Despite obvious concerns for the future of current BW posts, the Friends welcome this important step as a measure to ensure that the organisation elect, embraces the full tourism potential of this unique site.

    Finally and thankfully, Natural England is to be retained albeit after effectively being reformed to embrace efficiency and to continue in what is already seen a customer focused organisation. We of course welcome this decision and look forward to building on our existing proactive relationship with this forward looking organisation.

    Therefore and in short the Friends applaud these very difficult decisions, as we consider them both protective and vital in the continued campaign to ensure adequate protection of England’s largest ships graveyard.

    Paul Barnett
    Chairman
    Friends of Purton
    http://www.friendsofpurton.org.uk

    Read the full article at

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_191543.pdf

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