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:
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.
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.
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.