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Anchors Aweigh! New scheme to promote South West’s Marine Heritage

Wessex Archaeology has just launched a new project to promote the region’s marine heritage. This has been made possible by a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Archaeologists are inviting the public to join them to Time Travel by Water into the past on a voyage of discovery.

The project aims to bring school children and community groups across Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire right up to date with the new ways marine heritage is being explored and some of the amazing new discoveries.

Time Team TV celebrity Phil Harding, whose ‘day job’ is with Wessex Archaeology said ‘I am excited by this project. Most people think of marine history as being about galleons and doubloons. That part of seafaring history is important, but an amazing range of other work is being done: on wrecks, in harbours, and all along the coast. Some of the most hi-tech kit you will ever see on an archaeological project is the scientific survey gear marine archaeologists use. Now you don’t need to get your feet wet to see below the sea.’

In the two-year project, archaeologists will create time travel learning packs that can be used in classrooms and on the web, but a big element will be visiting community groups and schools so that they too can travel back in time. A new Education and Outreach Officer will organise themed exhibitions for those audiences, as well as lectures to local societies.

Euan McNeill, who is leading the project, commented, ‘In the last few years there has been an upsurge in the amount of work done on marine archaeology. This ranges from surveying the submerged landscapes that Britain’s first pre-historic settlers walked on; to WWII aircraft crash sites. Great historical events like the Armada are famous, but the sea has always been important in the South West and has helped shape its history. Linked inland by rivers, canals, roads and railways, the influence of the sea is never far away. This project allows everyone to time travel with us and we are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting this project.’

Nerys Watts, HLF Regional Manager adds ‘Over the centuries, Britain’s seafaring has helped shape our diverse society today. Many journeys that became globally significant set sail from the South West and so the HLF is pleased to support Time Travelling by Water. As more and more people appreciate just how significant their heritage is, it helps to make sure that we can preserve it and pass it on for future generations to enjoy.’

For further information contact:

Euan McNeill

Wessex Archaeology

Portway house

Salisbury SP4 6EB

Tel: 01722 326867

e.mcneill@wessexarch.co.uk

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