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Iona I

In March 2009, at the request of Historic Scotland, Wessex Archaeology's dive team investigated the wreck of the Iona I, a paddle steamer lost in 1862 in the Inner Clyde Estuary near Greenock. The Iona I was built on the Clyde in 1855 by Glaswegian shipbuilders J. & G. Thomson. Dubbed, the ‘Queen of the Clyde' the Iona I achieved considerable fame as a fast and well appointed passenger steamer operating in the Firth of Clyde for David Hutcheson & Company. During the American Civil War the vessel was bought by a businessman, probably Mr D. McNutt, to run goods to the Confederate States through the Union naval blockade. After having been converted for this purpose, and whilst leaving the Clyde on the start of its first transatlantic crossing, the Iona I was involved in a collision with another vessel. Contemporary accounts suggest that the Iona I sank rapidly by the stern, but that the vessel was probably intact as it left the surface.
Pipe on the wreck of the Iona I
The wreck currently lies on a silty seabed in almost 30m of water, about 100m south-east of the Whiteforeland Buoy in the Firth of Clyde Channel, off Greenock and Gourock. The vessel survives partly intact on a roughly south-west to north-east orientation. The central 25m of the wreck is the best preserved part of the site as here the vessel survives up to upper deck height, with boilers, crankshafts and what appear to be engines surviving in situ. Elsewhere the vessel is less well preserved and does not survive to deck height. Listen to a podcast recorded by our dive team whilst exploring the wreck of Iona l. Wessex Archaeology have also investigated the wreck of the Iona I's sister ship, the Iona II. Read more about the Iona II.


The site is situated in the Upper Clyde Estuary, off Greenock and Gaurock. It lies within the Firth of Clyde Channel, approximately 100m south east of the Whiteforeland Buoy. The following position for funnel base 2013 has been obtained from the multibeam swath bathymetry data supplied by Clydeport and has been confirmed by tracked diver survey.
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We Are 30!

Wessex Archaeology's 30th birthday badgeMay 1st 2009 marks our 30th anniversary.

Wessex Archaeology was founded as the Wessex Archaeological Committee on 1st May 1979 - the last of the regional units to be created by the Department of Environment (the DoE, now English Heritage). This brought together individual archaeologists in Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Wiltshire, plus some strays in need of a home. In 1983 the name changed to the Trust for Wessex Archaeology, and it became the not-for-profit charitable company which it remains today.

Wessex Archaeology's archivists will be chronicling our beginnings and evolution in our new history section, where you can currently read about our first five years.

Phil Harding at the opening of our new Time Team at Salisbury Cathedral exhibition on the day of Wessex Archaeology's 30th birthday in 2009.Phil Harding at the opening of our new Time Team at Salisbury Cathedral exhibition on the day of Wessex Archaeology's 30th birthday in 2009.

Time Team Exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral

Time Team at Salisbury CathedralTime Team at Salisbury CathedralSalisbury Cathedral was recently the subject of an exciting Time Team investigation. Over three days the site of the original 13th century cathedral bell tower and the long-demolished 15th century Beauchamp Chapel were excavated.
The team uncovered new information about the construction of the cathedral, and learned more about those buried within the chapel.
The exhibition, which was created by Wessex Archaeology, will be opened by Phil Harding and runs from 1 May to 31 October 2009 in Salisbury Cathedral’s atmospheric medieval cloisters. It features artefacts, text and audio-visual material from the programme, which was first aired in February. Visitors will learn about what happens behind the scenes of Time Team, how they work with experts from Wessex Archaeology, and learn about Bishop Beauchamp, one of Salisbury’s most colourful bishops.
Phil, whose day job is with Wessex Archaeology, said: “To do a dig here was a once in a lifetime experience. What we found underlines what incredible engineers and geologists those original builders were.”

Time Team post-excavation reports 2009

The technical post-excavation reports for the 2009 Time Team series (series 16) are now online. Reports can be viewed directly on our website, or downloaded for offline viewing and printing.

Visit our Time Team reports section to see reports from other years.

Time Team post-excavation reports 2005

The technical post-excavation reports for the 2005 Time Team series (series 12) are now online. Reports can be viewed directly on our website, or downloaded for offline viewing and printing.

Visit our Time Team reports section to see reports from other years.

EPPIC Placement in Marine Geophysics

IFA logo resizeWessex Archaeology's coastal and marine section is hosting a one-year professional work placement in Marine Geophysics in 2009-10, administered by IfA and funded by English Heritage. During the placement the post-holder will participate in marine geophysical surveys and develop skills in archaeological interpretation of sidescan, magnetometer, sub-bottom and bathymetric data. The post-holder will be involved in relating geophysical results to geological, geotechnical, palaeo-environmental, documentary, diver-based and other archaeological sources, and in contributing to reports and other deliverables. The training will be delivered on a mentoring/tutoring basis whilst working with teams working on a range of strategic and development-led projects. The placement may contribute towards an appropriate vocational qualification. Details of the placement can be found on the IfA website. Applications for the placements should be made to the IfA. The closing date for applications is 20 April 2009.

A46 Newark to Widmerpool

Wessex Archaeology continue to build on their road projects portfolio and are pleased to report the following.

Balfour Beatty and Scott Wilson have announced the appointment of Cotswold Wessex Archaeology (CWA) as the joint venture Archaeological Contractor for the A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Scheme.

Scott Wilson (the Designer) and Balfour Beatty (the Contractor) will be working very closely with CWA to ensure the highest standards of archaeological works, delivered within the project's tight time-scales and budgets. CWA intend to start immediately on a number of fronts with trial trenching, strip, map and sample excavation and detailed excavation (at Margidunum).

We are delighted to have been appointed and very much look forward to working with Balfour Beatty, Scott Wilson and Cotswold Archaeology.

Gallery: Time Team at Salisbury Cathedral

We have uploaded a gallery of photos from the Time Team dig at Salisbury Cathedral to our Flickr account to give you a glimpse of what it is like behind the cameras. Photos from other Time Team sites will be added to this gallery too, so keep an eye on it!

Time Team post-excavation reports 2006

The technical post-excavation reports for the 2006 Time Team series (series 13) are now online. Reports can be viewed directly on our website, or downloaded for offline viewing and printing.

Visit our Time Team reports section to see reports from other years.

Wessex Archaeology Metric Archive Project

In the summer of 2007, Jessica Grimm of Wessex Archaeology approached the Animal Bone Metrical Archive Project (ABMAP) to discuss the possibility of depositing Wessex Archaeology metric animal bone data onto the ABMAP database. This led to the formation of the Wessex Archaeology Metric Archive Project (WAMAP), with data from WAMAP datasets, structured to be compatible, added to the ABMAP database. The data transferred contains a selection of all measurements commonly taken during Wessex Archaeology zooarchaeological analysis; complete WAMAP datasets can be downloaded from the following pages, as well as a list of measurement definitions.

The datasets are derived from Wessex Archaeology developer-funder projects (primarily in the United Kingdom), and as such, will provide information from a wide range of archaeological sites in terms of location, period and type. The database is hosted by the Archaeology Data Service (ADS).

Animal and bird bones are examined by archaeozoologists to help us understand the environment of a site.

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