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The Drumbeg Wreck

3139 Site visible from Drumbeg

The ‘Drumbeg wreck’ a 17th-18th-century shipwreck, was discovered by Ewen Mackay and Michael Errington while scallop diving near the village of Drumbeg in December 2011. Historic Environment Scotland (Historic Scotland at the time) commissioned Wessex Archaeology to survey and record the interesting remains in 2012. The site consists of two anchors and three concreted cannon! Underneath these artefacts Wessex Archaeology even discovered a well preserved section of the hull! 

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The wreck was recorded through traditional methods as well as extensive photogrammetry – one of the first times photogrammetry was used on such an extensive area underwater. 
 
Through historical research, documents dating to the 17th and 18th century relating to shipwrecks in the area were found. Both of the records are possible answers as to the real name and history of the ship that has been named the ‘Drumbeg wreck’. 
 
On the basis of its national importance the wreck was designated in 2013 by the Scottish Ministers as Scotland’s first Historic Marine Protected Area.
 
For more information, you can read the full report here or watch the video Wessex Archaeology created about the wreck!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our Divers Investigate the Rooswijk

Two of our divers, Graham Scott and Paolo Croce, recently took part in a very productive international underwater survey of the protected wreck Rooswijk on the Goodwin Sands. This Dutch East India Company ship wrecked in 1739 en route from Texel, North Holland to the East Indies and so it was extremely appropriate to have the heritage agencies of both England and the Netherlands involved in this investigation of the Dutch wreck in British waters. 
 
During the middle of September, Rooswijk was investigated by an international team headed by Martijn Manders from the Maritime Programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands in liaison with Historic England. Together with divers from both sides of the North Sea, including our divers, the team took turns to measure and document the seabed remains. All up, the divers spent 20 hours underwater and took tens of measurements, hundreds of photographs and many videos to ensure that the wreck was well documented in its current condition.
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Obviously, an underwater project of this nature attracted a lot of media attention. So in between measuring timbers and cannon, the divers were interviewed for BBC and ITV and the fieldwork was also covered in many newspapers.
 
The Rooswijk has been designated a protected wreck by Historic England because it is threatened by both human interference and environmental factors. The site has already been subjected to salvage with the removal of up to 10,000 silver coins. As is common for the area, a mobile sand bank periodically covers or buries parts or all of Rooswijk. For this reason, it is important to gain a better understanding of the wreck site as it is now, compare it to records from past archaeological investigations, to be better prepared for any changes in the future. In this way, Rooswijk will be preserved for Dutch and British licensed divers to visit in the future.
 
 

The Former Titanic Works, Sheffield

Public Access Open Day

On Friday 28 October, as part of this year’s Sheffield Design Week, Chris Breeden and Lucy Dawson, of the Wessex Sheffield office, will be providing tours around the former Titanic Works, Malinda Street/Hoyle Street, Sheffield, on behalf of Derwent Students, Sheffield 3 and BSRE.
 
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The former works is a Grade II listed building, and comprised four buildings set around a central yard, During the redevelopment of the site in 2008, two previously unknown crucible cellars were unearthed, adding to the one beneath the listed structure. All three cellars are retained within the now Sheffield 3 student flat development.
 
The former Titanic Works was established as a steel manufacturing works prior to 1850, and was remodelled between 1850 and 1890. The principal retained structures date from this period and include a nationally rare crucible furnace with two end stacks. The site produced high-quality crucible steel used for the production of Sheffield famous cutlery and tools. The crucible furnaces were decommissioned in the 1950s, with the structures of two of them being demolished above ground level and access blocked. 
 
We will be conducting four 1 hour tours, all free, each accommodating up to six members of the public. The tours will include a tour of the listed building and all three cellars, with information about the steel making process, the history and development of the site and its significance within Sheffield. 
 
 
Please find further information and/or book your tickets here.
 
To find out more about the site take a look at our project pages and also the Hoyle Street publication, which includes the former Titanic Works. 
 
 
 

Longforth Farm, Somerset

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A Medieval Manor House Rediscovered 

We are delighted to announce that A Medieval Manor House Rediscovered – Excavations at Longforth Farm, Wellington, Somerset by Simon Flaherty, Phil Andrews and Matt Leivers is now available.
It is the latest in our Occasional Paper series and presents the results of excavations undertaken in 2012 and 2013 at Longforth Farm, Wellington, Somerset. Here, the excavations revealed limited evidence for prehistoric occupation including a Terminal Upper Palaeolithic blade, a few Mesolithic flints and a single Neolithic scraper. A Trevisker Ware vessel from a palaeochannel was associated with a deposit of burnt stone. Gullies and ditches dating to the Middle and Late Bronze Age appear to be the remains of an enclosure and associated boundaries. 
 
However, the main discovery was the remains of a previously unknown high status medieval building complex, thought to be a manor house. Although heavily robbed, it was possible to identify a hall, solar with garderobe and service wing. A forecourt, courtyard and at least one ancillary building as well as a possible detached kitchen were also revealed. Associated features included enclosures, pits and a fishpond.
 
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A relatively restricted range of artefacts were recovered but they included evidence for the fabric of the building – roof furniture and floor tiles. These together with the ceramics from the site suggest that occupation spanned the late 12th/13th century to the late 14th/early 15th century. Despite documentary research it has not been possible to identify the owners of this building or any records specifically relating to it. One possibility is that it belonged to the Bishops of Bath and Wells, perhaps being abandoned at the end of the 14th century when they moved their court to nearby Wellington, which had by then been established as a market town. 
 
 
 
 
 

Investigating the Wreck of a Schooner

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In 2015 Wessex Archaeology’s SAMPHIRE project team investigated a wreck located south of Kirkcudbright in Goat Well Bay. The remains consist of a wooden hull, complete from stem to stern with much of the lower hull still buried in the intertidal sands. The exposed parts of the wreck include the second and third futtock and the remaining stem and stern structure. The wreck was found by the Wessex Archaeology team after a tip off from Keith Armstrong-Clark, the local harbour master at Kirkcudbright.
 

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Identification of the wreck was extremely easy as the team found a plaque commemorating its wreck! Sometimes life as an archaeologist is easy! After confirming through some investigating that the wreck was indeed the Monrieth as stated on the plaque the team did some further investigation and discovered the Monrieth was a schooner built in Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway in 1876. It ran aground on 11 November 1900, with a cargo of stone bound for Kirkcudbright. Even though the wreck was already in the National Inventories list Wessex managed to recover further construction details of the vessel that can be added to the entry!
 
 
 
 
 

Charity Coffee Morning

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Wessex Archaeology Salisbury team is delighted to have raised £257.41 for Macmillan on Friday 30 September. Many thanks to all who baked, donated and ate the cakes! 
 
To find out how to host your own Charity Coffee morning follow this link
 
 
 
 

Recording of the Netheravon Cremation Urn

Wessex Archaeology’s Graphics Team has created a video which records the drawing of the Netheravon Cremation Urn. The Urn is an unusually large Early Bronze Age vessel, which was found in Netheravon, Wiltshire on MOD land. It was discovered due to badgers digging in the area which had unearthed pieces of the vessel. Subsequently excavation was undertaken by Wessex Archaeology in conjunction with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Operation Nightingale, which recovered a number of other objects including a copper chisel with an intact decorated bone handle, an archer’s wrist guard and cremated human bone. The Urn was put back together at the Wiltshire County Conservation lab.
 
 
Drawing finds is important as the illustrations provide a record of the object for specialists to use. The video clearly shows that the drawing of finds requires great attention to detail and is a very thorough process. Another way the graphics team has recorded the urn is via a 3D reconstruction using photogrammetry software. The entire object was photographed many times so that there was a 360 degree photographic record. Photogrammetry software then aligned the photographs by distinguishing key points to creat a mesh model of the object. The software was then able to calculate the texture and surface of the Urn and attached the photographs to the mesh model, thereby creating a 3D reconstruction.
 
By placing your mouse (or finger if you are using a tablet) on the image below you are able to examine the 3D model of the Netheravon Cremation Urn, you can rotate it and zoom in and out.
 
 
Once Wessex Archaeology’s specialists have finished with the Urn it will be returned to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.
 
Associated Links:
 

On Site with Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage

Over the last couple of weeks Wessex Archaeology has been working with Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage running an excavation close to East Chisenbury uncovering Late Bronze and early Iron Age archaeology, with a little bit of Roman thrown in. The site includes a large Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age midden, enclosure ditches and a possible roundhouse.
 
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The archaeological purpose of the excavation has been to develop greater understanding of the site and recover midden material excavated by badgers. The excavation though has been about more than just the archaeology, it has been about utilising the technical and social aspects of field archaeology to aid the recovery and skill development of service personnel and veterans who have been injured in conflict. A number of service personnel, veterans and volunteers took part in the excavation and processing of the finds on site. To develop greater contextual understanding of the site specialists came and taught ancient skills to those participating in the excavation such as blacksmithing, Iron Age cookery as well as pottery making techniques used in the Bronze Age and Iron Age; the activities were great fun as well informative.
 
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Working with Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage has been a great pleasure and we thank everyone who has been involved over the past few weeks.
 
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To find out about the finds uncovered at the site look out for our next blog.
 
 
 

Scotland's Archaeology Strategy

3104 Photogrammetric orthomosaic of the Ardno wreck

Wessex Archaeology’s image from project SAMPHIRE was featured as the front page of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy a new publication by the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee! The publication can be found here.
 

3106 Planning the intertidal wreck at Ardno

The image featured is of the Ardno wreck found in the intertidal zone near upper Loch Fyne. What remains is the keel to turn of the bilge of one side of the carvel built wooden vessel. Two previous images of the vessel were uncovered dating to the early 1900s showing the slow degradation of the vessel.
 
Investigation by Wessex Archaeology concluded that it was a broad beamed adaptation of the Zulu type vessel more suitable for use in sea lochs dated to around 1900 or later. Please see pages 52-54 of the 2015 SAMPHIRE report for further details on the wreck and the images!
 
 
 
 
 

Sherford Open Day Success

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On Saturday 24 September 2016 Wessex Archaeology held its second open day at Sherford, Plymouth, Devon. The rather poor weather forecast did not deter over 750 people from attending. 
 
Visitors were given the opportunity to see the remains of a Bronze Age round barrow which we are currently excavating. As well as meeting the archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology, visitors were able to read information about the excavations to date and see some of the best artefacts that have been found on the site. Budding young archaeologists were able to try their hand at excavating in our sand pit excavations, which proved a bit hit. As well as Wessex Archaeology, visitors were able to speak to staff from the Devon County Council Historic Environment Team, the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and the Plymouth District Archaeological Society. All provided displays and hands on activities for all ages. 
 
The benefit of such an event was clear to all who attended. Archaeology is clearly popular amongst the local residents, therefore there was great engagement with the event and the open day was a pleasure to run. Value came from people being able to see and better understand the work happening in their local community, which in turn enabled people to develop a greater sense of place and understanding of their local heritage.
 
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during the day and we would like to thank all those who made it such a success. 
 
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Bronze Age round barrow under excavation.
 
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