‘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 onthewaterfront@sam-culture.com

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.


EH comment on Draft Heritage Bill, Poseidon’s Reich 2009, Piers and Jetties Publication, New MSc in Maritime Archaeology, Jobs

English Heritage Comment of Draft Heritage Bill

English Heritage’s comment on the Draft Heritage Protection Bill is now available to download from MAG. For more context EH have also published additional information on the EH website.

Observant MAG members using the blog may have noticed that MAG’s draft response to the consultation is also now available to view/download from the new MAG Consultations page. (as ever comments on the blog or stories/features are welcome!)

In Poseidon’s Reich XIV Call for Papers

The POSEIDONS REICH XIV conference- “Underwater Archaeology in Northern European Rivers and Lakes”to be held at: the University of Kiel on 20th – 22th February 2009 in collaboration between the German Society for the Promotion of Underwater Archaeology (DEGUWA), the Department of Prehistory at the University of Kiel and the Workgroup for Maritime and Limnic Archaeology (AMLA)

In Europe the term ‘underwater archaeology’ is associated with spectacular discoveries, like wrecks in the Mediterranean or in the North and Baltic Seas or also pile-dwellings in the alpine foothills. For solving questions related to settlement archaeology, mainly archaeological research in inland waters is of importance. In the past decades impressive results were achieved – mainly in the Circumbaltic area and on the British Isles through maritime and limnic surveys as well as excavations in rivers and lakes.


The DEGUWA-conference in Kiel aims to illuminate three related subject areas. The first deals with settlements and their locations on lakefronts as well as on natural or artificial islands. The second focusses on infrastructural facilities for crossing or traversing waters in wetlands as well as on fortification and harbour facilities. The third concerns mobile traffic facilities for the transportation of goods and passengers over water.

All interested in underwater archaeological research in northern European rivers and lakes are sincerely invited to attend this conference as auditors, as speakers and/or as contributors to the poster presentation. Paper proposals are to be submitted not later than the 1st October 2008 with an abstract in English, German or French of not more than 200 words.

Further information and registration forms are available on the deguwa website.

New Jetties and Piers of Victoria Publication

In 2003/4 the Heritage Council of Victoria commissioned a historical and archaeological study of maritime infrastructure sites around Victoria’s coast and waterways. The Heritage Council and Heritage Victoria have now published Jill Barnard’s Jetties & Piers: a thematic history of maritime infrastructure in Victoria, the history-focussed partner document to the Maritime Infrastructure Assessment Project which has investigated potential archaeological sites of this type.

The document has been published electronically and is now available to download from the Heritage Victoria website.

Heritage Victoria hopes to have the Maritime Infrastructure Assessment Project Report (Stage 1: Melbourne Region) by Brad Duncan available for downloading from our website later in 2008, so please check the site for updates.

New MSc in Maritime Archaeology

A new masters course in maritime archaeology (MSc School of Conservation Sciences) has been created at Bournemouth University For more details contact Paola Palma (ppalma@bournemouth.ac.uk) or Dave Parham (dparham@bournemouth.ac.uk)

The MSc Maritime Archaeology consists of 5 units plus a Personal Research project. The aim of the programme is to develop the skills and initial experience required to undertake maritime archaeology in the field and/or prepare students for further study. Key skills taught during the programme, such as project management and analytical skills are widely transferable to a range of disciplines.


The Newport Medieval Ship Project is advertising for a waterlogged wood conservator. The new post is full time and permanent. Closing date: 20 June 2008 Full details are available here.

The SS Great Britain Trust, in Bristol is looking for a Curator. Requirements: a qualified museum professional with at least 3 years experience and specialist knowledge of maritime history/archaeology. Full details and application forms are available from recruit@ssgreatbritain.org. Closing Date: 20 June 2008.

Other News

Work has recommenced on the Alderney Elisabethan wreck and material including a musket has been retrieved

More treasure controversy, this time over a 17th century French vessel La Vierge du Bon Port.

A wonderfully preserved Royal Navy ship believed to be the HMS Ontario lost in 1780 has been discovered in approximately 150m of water in Lake Ontario.

Commentators explore the news of an archaeological survey of the lost town of Dunwich in the context of modern coastal erosion and flood defences in the Times.