The two-year project, which ran from 2009-2011, looked at different aspects of shipwrecks which addressed the life-cycle of a boat or ship. Wrecks were subject to a contextual study which considered the ways in which they were built and used, the manner in which they were lost, how they have survived and how they have been investigated (BULSI System).
The overall aim of Assessing Boats and Ships is to produce a national stock-take of wrecks and to review them in light of the framework of special interest for an earlier project, the Marine Class Description and principles of selection for aggregate producing areas (ALSF 5383). A historical thematic study was also completed to provide additional information for assessing the special interest of a wreck.
The primary resource consulted for the stock-take was the National Record for the Historic Environment (NRHE – previously the National Monuments Record). This information has been supplemented with the National Historic Ships Register and the National Small Boats Register. During the course of the project other relevant sources were also considered, such as RNLI information, Lloyd’s List and information from the Board of Trade now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, as well as relevant archives and museums.
The results of the project have been widely disseminated to heritage professionals, to people working in the marine environment, and to the wider public through Wessex Archaeology’s outreach programme, Time Travelling by Water.