A Wessex Archaeology diving team helped by local divers and historians, including John Adams of the local Filey Underwater Research Unit, are currently investigating First World War German U-boats off the Yorkshire coast for Historic England. Pictured here is the control room of the UC-70, whose wreck lies in about 25 m depth of water in the North Sea, close to Whitby. The photograph was taken by Tom Harrison, a Bournemouth University archaeology graduate and SCUBA instructor who recently joined the Wessex Archaeology Coastal & Marine team.
Project Officer Paolo Croce, a graduate of Southampton University’s maritime archaeology programme, explained how this photograph was taken:
‘Tom took this photograph whilst conducting a video survey of the submarine using a GoPro set to take both HD video and automatic stills. To overcome the lack of light and the silty water, the camera was mounted on an extremely powerful Seawolf Orca video light. Tom simply lowered the camera and light through holes in the pressure hull. The conning tower of the submarine is no longer in place, so Tom was able to gain access through the hatch that provided access to the crew between the control room and the tower. We did not go into the submarine ourselves, as this can be a very risky procedure and is likely to disturb the interior. We must remember that the UC-70 is a grave.’
The submarine has been the subject of a ‘dive tour’ published in Diver magazine. Therefore, as well as producing a report on the condition of the submarine for Historic England, we hope to produce a more detailed plan for use by future diving visitors.
The investigation of this and other sites off Whitby and Bridlington will be completed on Friday 16 August 2016.
By Graham Scott, Senior Archaeologist and Dive Superintendent