National Heritage Protection Plan; Mooring at York, UNESCO Convention anniversary.

National Heritage Protection Plan

English Heritage is piloting using the Communities of Practice website to share information and ideas and to receive input on the National Heritage Protection Plan.

One element of the NHPP Activities for the Pleistocene and Early Holocene is the development of a new research framework for the Mesolithic period. As the first step in this process there will be an online discussion to share thoughts and ideas about researching, protecting and presenting our Mesolithic heritage. The forum will take place on the Communities of Practice site from 2-5 pm on Tuesday 18 October 2011.

Mooring at York

The opportunity has arisen to lease a mooring within the historic city of York on the River Ouse. The Council wishes to encourage use of the River within the City and diversify the range of attractions for visitors and residents. To this end the City of York Council are making available a mooring at Kings Staith for an historic vessel to be open to the public as an attraction. It is intended that the vessel will remain at the mooring and will not be used for passenger trips along the river. Contact for more info.

UNESCO Convention anniversary

This year is the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage. In order to celebrate this anniversary, an international scientific colloquium on Factors Impacting Underwater Cultural Heritage will be held in Brussels on 13 and 14 December 2011. The colloquium is organised by UNESCO in close collaboration with the Universities of Leuven and Ghent and the Flemisch Heritage Institute. Further details about the colloquium (including a preliminary programme) can be found here.

Deadline for registration is 1 November 2011.


Underwater landscapes conference; Call for papers; Builders find 17-18th century shipwreck; The Neolithic of the Greater Thames Estuary’; “Finding treasure and losing history”; Did stinky seamen blow up HMS London?; Tudor Ports of London; H²Ops; Straits of Dover to be a new World Heritage Site?; Archaeology Festival 2009; The Hunley and the Alabama; Solent Basin Field Meeting; New find in Sri Lanka; Shifting sands expose more wrecks in Oregon; Protecting the Vasa; Aerial photographs; Great Lakes dispute


Underwater landscapes conference

CoastNet and The Wildlife Trusts are organising a conference entitled ‘Hidden worlds beneath the Waves: Engaging people with undersea landscapes’ on 25 February in Hull.

Call for papers

 A call for papers has been issued for a session of the September 2009 EAA Meeting entitled ‘Underwater archaeology and the future of submerged European Prehistory’.

 Builders find 17-18th century shipwreck

Construction workers in Buenos Aires in Argentina are reported to have found the remains of an unidentified 17-18th century warship under 7 metres of mud. Photographs can be viewed on the Reuters and BBC News websites.

The Neolithic of the Greater Thames Estuary

Nigel Brown will present a paper entitled ‘Sea-change – The Neolithic of the Greater Thames estuary’ at a one day conference of the Prehistoric Society entitled ‘The Neolithic of the Thames Valley: exploring regional diversity’. The conference takes place at the Society of Antiquaries in London on Saturday 7 February 2009.

“Finding treasure and losing history”

Go to Archaeology magazine’s website for an article by Zach Zorich on the co-operation between the Discovery Channel and Odyssey Marine Exploration.

Did stinky seamen blow up HMS London?

Richard Enser’s research into the Lennox has suggested a possible reason why HMS London sank in the Thames in 1685.

Tudor Ports of London

The Museum of London will be hosting a conference entitled ‘The Tudor Ports of London: An archaeological investigation’ on 16 May 2009. Attendance is free but registration is required.

The conference is the culmination of a lecture series organised to celebrate the centenary of the Port of London Authority.


The latest edition of  H²Ops Magazine is available to download.

Straits of Dover to be a new World Heritage Site?

A joint bid is being made by Eurotunnel and French officials to make the Straits of Dover a World Heritage Site.

Archaeology Festival 2009

Current Archaeology, Cardiff University and National Museums Wales are hosting the second ‘Archaeology Festival’ from 6-8 February in Cardiff. The draft session timetable includes a session entitled ‘Digging the docks: Britains portals to the world’.

The Hunley and the Alabama

The famous Confederate submarine and raider are back in the news.

Solent Basin Field Meeting

The Quaternary Research Association and the Prehistoric Society are organising a field meeting on the Solent Basin and West Sussex from 4-8 April 2009. Further details are available on the QRA website.

New find in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Daily News is reporting the discovery and excavation of an ‘ancient ship’ off Sri Lanka.

Shifting sands expose more wrecks in Oregon

The Oregon State Archaeologist is reporting the emergence of buried shipwrecks caused by the movement of coastal sand.

Protecting the Vasa

An 18 million krona 2 year project that aims to help researchers and preservationists gain a better understanding of the extent and speed at which the various components of the ship and the preservatives used upon it are breaking down has been announced by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning.

Aerial photographs

English Heritage, in partnership with the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales, has acquired the Aerofilms Collection of historical air photographs. The collection of over 800 000 images is the best and most significant body of oblique aerial photography of the UK remaining in private hands.   The photographs date from 1919 to 2006.

Great Lakes Dispute 

The US Archaeology News website has reported that the state of Michigan wants the U.S. courts to dismiss a lawsuit, filed by Great Lakes Exploration, for custody of what the company claims is the wreck of a seventeenth-century vessel built by French explorer La Salle. Federal law states that shipwrecks belong to the state if the state can show that they were abandoned and embedded in the lake bottom. 

 Also in the Great Lakes a well preserved daggerboard schooner has been found on the bottom of Lake Ontario during a geophysical survey.

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.