Work undertaken by Wessex Archaeology will feature in a documentary entitled “Mystery of the Women on the HMS London” on BBC1’s The One Show this Friday at 7.00pm.
The documentary, presented by Dan Snow, explores the 17th century English warship, the HMS London lost in the Medway in 1655 as it sailed out to battle against the Dutch. It appears there was a disastrous accident, which led to several tons of gunpowder exploding, sinking the ship. The recent discovery of the remains of several females on the ship is a strange occurrence – what were these women doing in this usually male environment?
Wessex Archaeology carries out diving fieldwork on the London for English Heritage as part of the Protection of Wrecks Act contract. The film offers the opportunity for you to see this amazing wreck, as the cameras follow our divers under water.
The item is scheduled for the 2nd of September on BBC1’s One Show at 7pm.
WA Coastal & Marine, through our Edinburgh office, presented a poster (displayed below) at the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS) first annual science meeting held in Edinburgh, August 22-24.
Although MASTS originated with an emphasis on fisheries and marine biological sciences, it includes physical oceanography, coastal geomorphology and marine archaeology.
WA Coastal & Marine staff were in attendance to highlight the potential for interdisciplinary research and management in Scotland’s seas, and the use of marine data for archaeological purposes as well as WA's role in helping sustainable development in the marine environment. In addition to presenting a poster, WA also took part in the Marine Protected Areas workshop where discussions were held between curators from Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, as well as scientists and developers alike.
Aspirations Day included a wide range of demonstrations and activities, from aikido to wood turning and visits from a helicopter pilot and a local farmer, amongst others. The aim was to inspire pupils to think about new hobbies and interests and was a fantastic opportunity to speak to them about seabed archaeology.
From the very youngest children to the top class, they all loved the opportunity to handle real artefacts. However there was some disappointment that archaeologists don’t dig up dinosaurs! Luckily, the mammoth fossils proved sufficient, although some were a bit squeamish at the prospect of holding the bones and teeth. Everyone had a go at guessing artefacts in the water table and the day ended with a number of inspired young archaeologists in the making.
If you’re interested in learning more about seabed archaeology – check out our Explore the Seafloor website.
HMS Drake, a site investigated by Wessex Archaeology, is the subject of a new book.
On 2 October 1917 HMS Drake had just escorted a convoy across the Atlantic when she was torpedoed by U-79. The torpedo blew a hole into one of the four boiler rooms instantly killing all but two of the crew at work. Then listing dangerously to her starboard side the vessel limped round the southern tip of Rathlin Island. Anchored in Church Bay Drake rolled over onto her starboard side and sank. HMS Drake has lain off Rathlin Island ever since.
In 2006 Wessex Archaeology conducted an undesignated site assessment of HMS Drake for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (previously Environment and Heritage Service of Northern Ireland). Despite damage from the torpedo attack, the divers discovered the wreck in good condition and were able to identify many different features of the wreck.
A recent article in Belfast Telegraph recounted the sinking of the Drake detailed in Ian Wilson’s book HMS Drake: Rathlin Island Shipwreck. This new book recounts the life, times and death of the Drake and is available to order from Rathlin Island Books.
Find out more about HMS Drake including a link to a report of Wessex Archaeology’s investigation.
Dr. Jonathan Benjamin and Dr. Andrew Bicket from WA Coastal & Marine (Edinburgh Office) appeared on BBC Alba's news programme, An Là on 20 July 2011.
In the interview, Jonathan explained how preliminary research suggests that submerged areas of the Western Isles may hold clues about the islands' earliest inhabitants in addition to later maritime heritage. Jonathan and Andy were on Lewis at the invitation of the council, and held a public lecture in the council chambers on Monday 18th July 2011.
Wessex Archaeology is a registered charity, with outreach and educational objectives and offices throughout England and Scotland.
The piece which is in both Gaelic and English, is used here with permission.
Experts from Wessex Archaeology's Coastal and Marine department will give a presentation on Lewis on how submerged areas of the Western Isles
may hold clues about the first islanders to live there more than 9,000 years ago.
Archaeologists believe up to six miles of land may have been lost off the west coast of the Outer Hebrides in the past 10,000 years, potentially leaving excellent underwater archaeology sites, which can offer preservation conditions rarely seen on land.
In sheltered areas of the seabed there may be evidence of the first people to colonise the islands some 9,000 years ago.
Marine archaeology specialists Dr Jonathan Benjamin and Dr Andrew Bicket will give a public presentation on the subject in the Council Chamber, Western Isles Council headquarters in Stornoway, at 7pm on Monday 18th July.
On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July Time Travelling by Water (TTBW) will be at the annual Hampshire Water Festival 2011 in Staunton Country Park, Havant. Come and join us to learn about our maritime heritage.
TTBW will also be at the Salisbury Museum on Tuesday 26 July as part of their Family Discovery Day – Marine Archaeology.
Families can explore our water table with fantastic finds. All of our artefacts have been dredged from the seafloor and include mammoth bones, part of an MG 15 machine gun and fittings from shipwrecks. There are lots of activities for children of all ages.
Join us out and about in July to learn about marine archaeology.
Wessex Archaeology Coastal & Marine team participate in underwater excavation of Mesolithic site in Denmark
Last month, two of Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal & Marine staff were invited to take part in a test excavation at a newly discovered underwater Mesolithic site in the Danish Baltic. The site, three metres deep and located south of Falsled Harbour on the Island of Funen, was found last year during an annual community archaeology programme run by the Øhavmuseet (Langeland Museum) which was also a short-term training mission, funded in part by (EU COST Action TD-902) SPLASHCOS.
Dr Jonathan Benjamin and John McCarthy of Wessex Archaeology’s Edinburgh Office joined the international team, led by Otto Uldum for a one-week test excavation to establish the extent and character of the site. They were also joined by archaeologists from the Mosegård Museum (Denmark) and Dr Harald Lübke of the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Schleswig Holstein (Germany) who has spent more than ten years excavating underwater sites in the Baltic.
Preliminary results indicate that the site represents the shoreline contemporary with the late Mesolithic, which was inhabited by the hunter-fishers of the Ertebølle culture. Worked flint, animal bone and antler, as well as fish bones, wood and other organic remains were recovered. Radiocarbon determinations will be sent to the lab in Kiel, Germany and a report will be published in 2012.
Brodies LLP celebrated the introduction of the new marine licensing system on 6 April 2011 with a seminar at their Aberdeen office along with Jim McKie of Marine Scotland and Dr Jonathan Benjamin of Wessex Archaeology's Edinburgh office and a specialist in Coastal and Marine Archaeology.
The new streamlined system is going to become increasingly important, as our seas are going to become increasingly crowded with development in the expanding sectors of offshore renewables, harbours and marinas, and fish farming, not to mention the demands of decommissioning oil and gas installations.
In addition to determining marine licence applications, Marine Scotland is the (mainly) one stop shop for dealing with other licensing decision for marine development, including Electricity Act consents for renewable generating stations, European protected species licences, and licences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and the idea is that these can all be wrapped up in a single consenting process with the marine licence. Jim Mckie highlighted the introduction of the new system as an opportunity to do things better. The holistic consenting regime promotes a close working relationship with consulting bodies dealing with all these licences.
Jonathan Benjamin gave a practical insight into how the marine licensing system will need to take account of the presence of everything from World War Two wrecks to submerged landscapes with remains that are tens of thousands of years old.
(via Brodies Planning Blog)
Wessex Archaeology’s learning and access team has produced two new teacher packs for the Assessing Boats and Ships project, funded by English Heritage through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
Assessing Boats and Ships is a desk-based assessment that looks at the importance of 19th and 20th century shipwrecks lying off the coast of England.
Following successful workshops with local schools covering two different periods, Victorians and World War 2, we produced two teacher packs for KS2 and KS3 teachers. These can be downloaded from Time Travelling By Water, our Coastal and Marine section’s learning and access website.
You can find out more about Assessing Boats and Ships on our project pages.