The MAG AGM will take place at the IfA Conference at Reading on 14th April at 12:45. It will be immediately after the ‘Assessing significance underwater: Just piles of old rocks, geophysical anomalies and shifting sands?’ conference session. The AGM will be very short and it is hoped to conclude it by 13:00, so if you are at the conference then please come along.
The election of new committee members will be take place at the AGM. You can vote at the AGM, either in person or by proxy. If you will not be attending and are an IfA and MAG member then it is not too late to vote by e-mail. Please e-mail the secretary by 17:00 today. E-mail or postal votes received later than 11 April may still be counted but this cannot be guaranteed. You will need to quote your IfA membership number and confirm that you are a member of MAG as well as confirming which candidate you wish to vote for. A list of candidates has already been e-mailed to members. You can only vote for one.
Maritime archaeology on the box
Important archaeological sites underwater continue to attract television coverage. After the (rumoured soon to be published) Mesolithic site at Bouldner Cliff earlier in the year, the Bronze Age site near Salcombe featured this week in a new Neil Oliver fronted prehistory series and the 17th century Swash Channel ship off Poole was covered by BBC 1’s ‘One Show’. Following excavation of the Swash site last year, it is hoped that the delayed recovery of the remarkable carved rudder and other parts of the well preserved Swash wreck will be able to proceed this year.
Also this week the internationally important but highly vulnerable Battle of Britain Dornier 17 aircraft wreck on the Goodwin Sands made it onto BBC News, with the RAF Museum still hopeful of recovering the aircraft this year.
The long-awaited guidance on offshore geoarchaeology by Cowrie can now be downloaded.
Scottish National Marine Plan Consultation
The Scottish Government has issued for consultation its National Marine Plan: Pre-Consultation Draft.
London designated wreck
Two men were arrested this week on suspicion of the theft of artefacts from the 1665 wreck of the English warship London in the Thames Estuary following a multi-agency operation. The site is protected by designation under the Protection of Wrecks Act. One of the artefacts seized during the operation appears to have been a bronze cannon. The armament of the London is believed by ordnance experts to be extremely important and the site itself is arguably the most important unexcavated 17th century wreck in England. If convictions follow then this represents a major achievement in the battle against illegal salvage of historic wrecks.
A final call for papers has been made for the 4th symposium on Preserving Archaeological Remains in situ (PARIS4) at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen on 23-26 May 2011.
A second call for papers has been made for The Inaugural Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM) regional conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. Anybody lucky enough to be thinking of attending should go to the conference website.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK Parliament have issued a third report on funding for arts and heritage.
Palaeolithic Mesolithic Conference
A call for 20 minute papers has been issued for the Palaeolithic Mesolithic Conference at the British Museum on 17th – 18th November 2011
First International Conference on Defence Sites: Heritage and Future, 6-8 June 2012, Portsmouth
This interesting sounding conference introduces itself as follows:
‘Redundant army, naval and air force sites offer a range of opportunities to planners, developers, architects and local communities to redevelop large areas, bringing new life to often neglected parts of town. These opportunities are common to many countries and this first International Conference on Defence Sites: Heritage and Future will help to stress their common features and share experiences of their transformation to civilian uses all over the world.
The conference aims to raise the knowledge of the scale, design and functions of military, naval and air force sites. It will bring a better understanding to the issues raised by their redundancy, and the implications of different disposal processes for state owned land. It is also important to understand the interaction of different stakeholders and their influence on the outcome. They include government agencies, developers, planners, architects, historians and members of local communities. Special issues related to historical naval ships and other maritime infrastructure will also be discussed.’
English Heritage press release on the Abolition of the Government’s Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites
‘The Government’s Public Bodies Reform – Proposals for Change document (October 2010) noted that the UK-wide Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites (ACHWS) is to be abolished and its functions, in relation to England, are to be transferred to English Heritage.
Since then, English Heritage has been working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to both develop and resource a continued transparent approach to the delivery of maritime heritage designation.
The ACHWS, which met for the last time on the 24th March, was set up to advise Government on the designation and licensing of historic wrecks under the UK-wide Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. To fulfil these functions as they relate to England, English Heritage has established a new ‘Historic Wrecks Panel’ – an internally managed panel made up of independent marine experts drawn from the sector.
English Heritage already maintains a number of advisory panels to ensure access to expert advice in specialist fields. The establishment of the new Historic Wrecks Panel is consistent with our established approach in ensuring transparency and accountability of English Heritage’s advice. English Heritage envisages that only complex, contentious and high profile designation cases and licence applications will be subject to review by the Panel and this will ensure that processes are aligned with ongoing Heritage Protection Reform.
The new Panel will provide advice to English Heritage staff on policy and practice with respect to historic wreck designation in UK Territorial Waters surrounding England. The Panel will also be able to advise on the protection and management of marine historic assets in UK Controlled Waters around our shores.
In the longer term, English Heritage believes that this approach will lead to reduced costs and increased transparency, accountability and efficiency of marine designation.
Further details about the new Panel will be available on the ‘Committees and Panels’ page of the English Heritage website in due course. In addition, the archive of the ACHWS, which comprises Committee Minutes, Papers and Annual Reports, has been collated and deposited in English Heritage’s public archive at the National Monuments Record.’