Wessex Archaeology (WA) was commissioned by Historic Scotland (HS) to provide a rapid study concerning the availability of data for enhancement of the Historic Environment Record (HER) with regard to the coastal and marine environment. The aim of the project was to identify significant existing datasets, assess their value for cultural heritage purposes and to make a series of recommendations for enhancement of the marine HER. The project is intended to inform and support both the work of Historic Scotland to safeguard the coastal and marine environment, and the role of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in the enhancement of its coastal and marine records. An important element of the project was the design and creation of a database listing the most significant organisations holding data of relevance to the coastal and marine historic environment with regard to possible future data mining. Where possible, the limits of the data sources which had a geographic extent were defined. The aims of the project were accomplished by contacting the most relevant external authorities, agencies and contractors and requesting general descriptions of holdings of potential relevance and extents of data coverage. Maps of organisations were created in some cases from the coordinates recorded in the Audit Database. The rapid study was commissioned in January and was concluded in March 2011. Given the inherent limited scale of the project, the primary focus was a review of the large-scale geophysical surveys in the marine zone by various governmental organisations outside the heritage sector. Polygon extents representing the vast majority of historical geophysical surveys conducted within Scottish Adjacent Waters (as defined by the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999) have been brought together in a series of figures and have also been provided in their original format to Historic Scotland.
Download the Scottish Marine Historic Environment Data Audit report below.
Historic Scotland's website includes useful pages on submerged wrecks off Scotland's coasts and offers guidance for divers wishing to visit these wrecks. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland maintain the Canmore database. This is a record of the known archaeological sites in Scotland including offshore sites.