New UK designated wreck, Members needed for ACHWS, Heritage Bill news, Scholarship, Purton hulks

First of all I would like to notify members that  I am leaving my position as MAG Secretary to take up a position abroad. This means I will not be able to act on any emails etc. for the MAG updates or blog or other MAG issues. As my resignation is some time before the next AGM, a new Secretary will be co-opted by the committee shortly. Until then please forward any items for the updates/blog to Virginia Dellino Musgrave at or Jesse Ransley at The new Secretary’s details will be distributed members as soon as possible.

Many thanks to all of the MAG members who have contributed so much to the group in the last few years, these updates would not be possible without your input!

17th century Thames wreck believed to be HMS London designated

Barbara Follett, Minister for Culture, has designated the remains of a historic 17th Century ship, believed to be the London, which sank in the Thames Estuary nearly 350 years ago. More details are available on the DCMS website.

2 members required for the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites (ACHWS)

DCMS has requested applications for interested parties to fill 2 member posts on the ACHWS, the committee set up to advise Ministers on issues related to historic wrecks. More details can be found on the DCMS website.

Government Response to Report on Draft Heritage Bill

The Government has published its response to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s Report on the Draft Heritage Protection Bill and Draft Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill.

Women’s Underwater Archaeology Scholarship

MAG Members may wish to apply for or pass on details for the Women Divers Hall of Fame Cecelia Connelly Memorial Scholarship for Underwater Archaeology. The scholarship is for $2500, to be used to support a woman graduate or undergraduate student, currently enrolled and in good standing, in an accredited academic program in Underwater Archaeology. Further details can be found on the Women Divers Hall of Fame website.

Other News

Members may remember MAG has previously forwarded news on the Purton Hulks. Recently the Telegraph has taken up the story following recent unsuccessful attempts to protect the site through existing heritage legislation.


Heritage CHAT 2008, TAG Art Exhibition, UNESCO film

Heritage CHAT 2008

The annual CHAT conference will be held at the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London on November 14-16. CHAT looks at theoretical issues in the conduct of contemporary and historical archaeology. This year English Heritage are co-hosting with UCL -More information is available at the UCL website.

TAG 2008 Art Exhibition

The forthcoming TAG conference will include an Art Exhibition on the theme of ‘Visual biographies: object, art and archaeological practice’. For more information on the exhibition and the conference visit the TAG website.

UNESCO releases film on Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention

UNESCO has produced a short documentary film on the Convention of the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. You can see the film at the UNESCO website.

If you are a maritime archive holder don’t forget to visit and participate in MAG’s Archives Project.

TAG Maritime Session, North Atlantic Research Agenda, European Maritime Archaeology Programmes, Festival of British Archaeology

TAG Maritime Conference Session: Maritime identities: museum, communal and personal uses of heritage

The forthcoming TAG conference in Southampton includes a maritime session. The call for papers is now open, and the deadline for submissions is the 1st September 2008.

This session explores the ever-expanding intersection of uses of the sea and uses of the past. Maritime heritage is a distinctive area of heritage and museum studies, maritime history and archaeology, as indicated by the rapidly growing genres of maritime museums and maritime history. The diverse meanings and manifestations in this arena are not simply united by descriptive coincidence or reductive supraculturalism, but constitute a rising research agenda brimming with a comparative potential that preserves and renews case specificity. However, the idea of what constitutes maritime heritage as a realm of cultural production, remains remarkably narrow and conceptually immature. Given the fundamental relationship between identity and heritage, the processes of identity construction and negotiation within and across the spheres of maritimity and heritage require special attention.

The two-fold aim of this session is thus to expand conceptions of maritime heritage as an ethnographic object of study, while pushing forward a more clearly articulated framework for this area of heritage and museological analysis. We invite papers analysing constructions of maritime heritage and maritime ‘pasts’ by museums, nation-states, communities and individuals with notions of identity at their centre. Papers will be focused on meaning-making rather than methodologies, as well as the tensions and interactions of varied voices and experiences.

The call for papers is now open, and the deadline for submissions is the 1st September 2008. Further details on the session are available on the TAG website. Submissions to the session can be made online.

Research Agenda for the North Atlantic Conference

A Research Agenda meeting for the North Atlantic, is to be held at the University of Bradford between the 29th August and the 1st September 2008.

The meeting is designed to review and report on existing research projects and to formulate an Agenda for Future Archaeological Research in the North Atlantic. The conference is in two parts; discussant-led theme sessions with invited specialist contributions will provide the framework for the research agenda, alongside open sessions on current research. Paper contributions to be published in the new Journal of the North Atlantic (JONA). For more information contact the conference organisers , by email, or the meeting website.

European Maritime Archaeology Programmes

MAG has been notified of additional maritime archaeology course available in Europe. Potential post graduate candidates for Underwater Archaeology Courses at the Instituto Politécnico de Tomar and the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa are invited to apply. More information is available at the course website (Portuguese language site).

The Syddansk Universitet is also offering a two year masters programme in maritime archaeology, free for EU/EEA students. This course also offers the opportunity to obtain a commercial SCUBA qualification. More information is available on the course website.

National Archaeology Week set to be called the Festival of British Archaeology in 2009

The Council for British Archaeology has announced the Festival of British Archaeology, the new name for National Archaeology Week.

Due to the continued success of National Archaeology Week, from 2009 it will be extended to a fortnight long festival of archaeologically inspired events.

The Festival of British Archaeology 2009 will run from Sat 18th July – Sun 2nd August. It will retain the general format of National Archaeology Week but with more opportunies to participate in a wide range of archaeology related activities across the UK.

Other News

Montenegro has ratified the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage on July 18th, 2008. This ratification brings the number of signatory State Parties to 18, which means only two more signatories are needed before it can enter into force.

The Antikythera mechanism has revealed details of lost ancient Greek calendars following careful analysis of the mechanism using X-Ray CT analysis. The findings are reported in Nature.

Ruins found in west Greenland, that may be the remains of a ship dock may indicate the most northerly Viking hunting outpost on the island.

The remains of a submerged landscape have been identified off Rathlin Island in the north of Ireland

MAG Maritime Archives Project, New Edition of NAS Guide, Ancient Greek Vessel Raised

Securing a Future for Maritime Archaeological Archives

This project has been formulated in response to the work undertaken by MAG to highlight the dire situation relating to maritime archaeological archive provision in the UK. The project is seeking to:

  • Understand how museum and archive repository collection areas and collection policies consider the marine zone (phase one);
  • Review where maritime archaeological archives are currently held and assess their public accessibility (phase two); and
  • Analyse present maritime archive creation and assess the scale and nature of future maritime archives (phase three).

Without this baseline information it is impossible to gauge the current provision for maritime archives and the numbers and diversity of current collections. This project is a vital first step in defining the extent of the problem to enable appropriate responses on a national level to be formulated.

As part of phase two we are targeting a wide range of individuals, organisations, exhibits, groups etc. who may hold maritime archaeological archive material. We ask all MAG members who hold relevant material to complete the questionnaire.

You can go directly to the questionnaire or visit the project website where you can find further information on the project, a number of downloadable documents and links to relevant projects and information.

NEW Edition of Nautical Archaeology Society’s Underwater Archaeology: Guide to Principles and Practice

MAG members take note, the new edition of Underwater Archaeology: The NAS Guide to Principles and Practice (Edited by Amanda Bowens), provides a comprehensive summary of the archaeological process as applied in an underwater context. The new edition contains extensive practical advice and information, including how to get involved, basic principles, essential techniques and approaches, project planning and execution and publishing and presenting results.

Fully illustrated with over 100 drawings and new colour graphics, this second edition contains additional chapters on geophysics, historical research, photography and video, monitoring and maintenance and conservation. With ‘Underwater Archaeology’ the NAS reveals the real underwater treasure – a rich cultural heritage that has helped shape the world in which we live. By outlining the principles and practices, this book will enable the reader to make informed and responsible decisions about how to get the most from their involvement with underwater archaeology.

The text can now be purchased from the NAS Head Office in Portsmouth. The paperback is priced at £19.99 for NAS Members / £24.99 non members and the hardback is £50.00 for NAS Members / £60 for non-members. For more information, or to order, phone/fax (+ 44 23 9281 8419) or email the NAS Head Office with payment and delivery details. Prices are exclusive of postage and handling.

Other News

A 21 metre long ancient Greek vessel dating to c. 500 BC has been raised to the surface off Sicily. The wooden vessel was found by scuba divers in 1988, 800 metres from the ancient Greek colony and port of Gela. Parts of the vessel and the cargo have already been raised.

Ancient Greek Wreck (Image via ANSA/PAl)

Ancient Greek Wreck (Image via ANSA/PAl)

The timbers are to be stored tanks containing PEG, and will be transported to Portsmouth where they will be conserved by Mary Rose Archaeological Services.

Further details have been reported at: and

ACHWS 2007 Report, Scottish Marine Bill Consultation, EH training

ACHWS 2007/2008 Report Now Out

The National Heritage Act (2002) enabled English Heritage to assume responsibilities for maritime archaeological sites of all types from low water out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit around England. The Act also allows the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport to direct English Heritage to undertake functions relating to the Advisory Committee for Historic Wreck Sites (ACHWS).

The ACHWS was set up to advise Government on the suitability of wreck sites to be designated for protection on the grounds of historical, archaeological or artistic interest in accordance with the Protection of Wreck Acts 1973. The ACHWS Annual Report 2007, comprising an account of both the general work of the ACHWS and its activities throughout April 2007 to March 2008, is now available to download from the Maritime Archaeology pages of English Heritage’s website.

Scottish Marine Bill Consultation

Sustainable Seas For All – A consultation on Scotland’s first marine bill was launched by Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, on July 14 2008 during a visit to Storehouse of Foulis, north of Inverness.

The consultation period for Scotland’s first marine bill is now underway and will run until October 6 2008. The consultation can be viewed online and hard copies can be requested from . If you are responding, you do not have to respond to all questions, you may wish to answer only a few relating to your area of interest or expertise.

If you have any enquiries, please contact .

Last Day to apply for EH training Scheme!

English Heritage is launching an exciting new training scheme in October 2008. Trainees will be placed within our regional teams across the country and will gain experience in the application of professional conservation management skills in a planning and development context. The traineeships will be for a period of two years and up to ten places are available. Units are planned that include marine historic advice to planning and the marine consent system. Appointments will be made on a two-year fixed term basis. Salary from £18,500 p.a. with an additional allowance of £2,316 p.a. for Trainees based in London.

Please note that the closing date is today -apologies for the late notice
More details are available here.

Other News

The new Heritage at Risk Register, which includes designated wrecks has been noted in an Early Day Motion tabled by Gordon Marsden.

Wrecks at Risk, Plymouth University Diving Course, HSE Diving Committee notes, Horsea Shuts

Wrecks at Risk

English Heritage launched the Heritage at Risk register today.

This new programme makes England the first country in Europe to have such a comprehensive knowledge of the state of its protected heritage. The maritime element of the programme comprises an assessment of England’s Protected Wreck Sites and has been based upon an objective audit and Annual Licensee Reports.

Cannons on the Hazardous (Courtesy HWTMA)

Cannons on the Hazardous (Courtesy HWTMA)

10 of England’s 45 protected wrecks have been listed on the register:

  • Northumberland
  • Restoration
  • Rooswijk
  • Stirling Castle
  • Hazardous
  • HMS/m A1
  • Iona II
  • Salcombe Cannon Site
  • Coronation
  • Royal Anne

More details can be found on EH’s Shipwrecks at Risk page

University of Plymouth New Diving Courses

The University of Plymouth has its own Diving & Marine Centre and is the only University in the country to offer students the opportunity to gain the Professional Diving (SCUBA) qualification as part of their marine-based academic degree programme. The Centre is now offering the Pro Scuba course to any archaeologist or student doing an archaeological degree/Masters. The Centre runs intensive courses through the summer which are priced at about half the commercial rate.

As part of the training they are hoping to ground truth anomalies in Plymouth Sound identified through geophysical (sub-bottom profiling, magnetometer and side-scan) surveys and search for 4 wrecks, including the East Indiamen Palsgrave/Paulsgrove (1637) and the Dutton (1796).

The Centre is also planning to provide surface supply training to the students in Plymouth from this autumn and will make this available to a wider community next year.

Further details about the course can be found on their Diving & Marine Centre website (under the Prof Diving tab).

MAG notes from the HSE diving Industry Committee

Mark Dunkley of MAG reports the following from the committee meeting:

ADC Information Note 4/08 on the use of the Scientific & Archaeological ACoP when conducting pre-commencement inspections or surveys on construction related or wind farm development sites (dated 28th June 2008 ) has now been issued. Contact the ADC for more information.

New HSE Research is to include a Helmet Noise Project (research paper in prep.), Differential Pressure Hazards and Helmet Protection Testing. All HSE Research Reports for Diving can be found on the HSE Diving Homepage.

A major revision to USN Tables was completed in April 2008 which includes more conservative approach to air decompression (though they are still less conservative than RN and DCIEM tables). The revised tables are available within Section 9.8 of the US Navy Diving Manual (Revision 6, April 2008 ) .

The European Scientific Diving Committee was set up as interim commission based on a meeting of experts in scientific diving and underwater sciences held in Berlin in June 2007. The 2nd International Symposium on Occupational Scientific Diving (ISOSD2008 ) of ESDC is to be held in Helsinki in October 2008.

Other News:

Horsea Island dive centre, which contains the remains of the Gresham Ship (also known as the ‘Prince’s Channel Wreck‘), has been closed to public diving access .

‘On the Waterfront’ Conference, Swash Channel Wreck Threatened

Forthcoming English Heritage ‘On the Waterfront’ Conference

This conference is intended to explore port cities and how we can protect the integrity of historic maritime ports and ensure their distinctiveness is retained.

This major international conference will be held in Liverpool, the European Capital of Culture 2008 in November. It will explore the future of port cities from Shanghai to Mumbai.

This is an essential event for all those who believe in the important role heritage plays in regeneration and placemaking. Further conference details can be found here, and a full conference programme can be viewed here.

Booking forms can be downloaded here (Word) and returned to

Swash Channel Wreck Under Threat.

The protected 17th century Swash Channel wreck is under threat from a warm water shipworm, previously unknown in British waters. The blacktip shipworm (Lyrodus pedicellatus) is particulary destructive as it can bore through wood throughout the year, a trait that could eventually destroy the site’s remarkable carved decorations and surviving hull timbers.

Swash Channel Wreck Carving Detail (Bournemouth University)

Archaeologists from Bournemouth University, who have been monitoring the wreck for two years, plan to retrieve the wreck’s decorated rudder to save it from damage from the worm. The site will be included on English Heritage’s new Heritage at Risk register, which is due to be published next week. A more detailed article on this story has been published by Maev Kennedy in the Guardian.

Other News

The debate on the UK’s failure to ratify the UNESCO convention, sparked by an article on the wreck of La Vierge, continues to be played out in letters to the Independent. For more background see this previous MAG update.

The Museum of Underwater Archaeology is posting regular updates on the West Florida University field school in underwater archaeology and their experiences on the 16th century Emanuel Point II and the 19th century “Brick” shipwrecks.

The world’s oldest ropes have been found in an Egyptian cave.