Wessex Archaeology has recently completed a strategic desk-based assessment for English Heritage looking at Early Ships and Boats from Prehistory to 1840.
At present, very few boats and ships are offered statutory protection in England in comparison to the large numbers of known and dated wrecks and even greater numbers of recorded losses of boats and ships in English waters. One way of expanding this designation base is to take a thematic approach. The theme of early ships and boats, from Prehistory to 1840, was recommended because of the special technological, historical and human interest of these early vessels.
The aim of the desk-based assessment was to produce a dataset of all know and located pre-1840 craft in England and English Territorial Waters. The final dataset comprise 384 records including designated and undesignated wrecks, boat burials, logboats, historic vessels and findspots of craft or timber.
Following assessment 88 of these (87 undesignated wrecks and 1 logboat) were identified as candidates for further assessment and potential statutory protection. The first of these have been selected by English Heritage for further investigation in 2013. Work will be carried out by Wessex Archaeology on behalf of English Heritage as part of the contract for the provision of services in relation to marine designation for 2013-15. For more about this project click Early Ships and Boats.