Women in Science: 10 minutes with a Maritime Archaeologist

To mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11th Feb 2017, we spoke to Alison James, Maritime Archaeologist at Historic England, about what inspires her in her work. Can you give us a brief introduction to what you do? I’m a Maritime Archaeologist at Historic England so I deal with the 52 protected wreck sites around the coast of England. They range from Bronze Age sites right through to 21st century submarines, from Northumberland down to the IslesRead more

Britain on the Brink of Starvation: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

One hundred years ago today on 1 February 1917, Germany resumed its policy of ‘unrestricted submarine warfare.’  The seas around the British Isles were declared a war zone in which fishing vessels and unarmed merchant vessels, carrying essential items such as foodstuffs, coal and iron ore, would be attacked without warning by German U-boats. Featured image: UB106 on rocks Falmouth 1921 © Historic England/ Patrick Casement [see footnote 1] Prior to this a U-boat would surface, search a vessel, give theRead more

Devon’s Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks don’t just happen in the deep sea: many ships are driven ashore or lie slowly decaying along riverbanks, estuaries, and creeks. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has given protection to three such ‘shoreline’ wrecks on Historic England’s recommendation. For all three, one of the major factors in assessing their national significance for protection was their rarity. Generally speaking, the further back we go in time, the rarer the evidence is for shipwrecks around England’s coasts. So justRead more

Discovered by Disaster: 6 Astounding Archaeological Finds from Environmental Change

Those of us working with the past can occasionally be viewed as stuck in it, not wanting things to change, but actually for archaeologists change is our bread and butter. We are obsessed with how, and why, people and their places have changed through time. Sometimes dramatic changes in the environment can lead to particularly exciting discoveries. Here are 6 of the best archaeological discoveries as a result of environmental change: Written by Hannah Fluck, Historic Environment Intelligence Officer, Historic England.Read more

8 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland was the bloodiest naval confrontation of the First World War, involving 250 vessels and nearly 100,000 men.  The British Grand Fleet, whose key commanders were Admiral John Jellicoe and the then Vice-Admiral David Beatty, fought the German High Seas Fleet off the coast of Denmark. 6,097 British and Empire lives were lost, as well as 2,551 German. Neither side won a decisive victory, but the confrontation changed the course of the war, ultimately bringing the UnitedRead more

70 Years On: The Remains of Operation Neptune

This year is the 70th anniversary of D-day, which began on 6th June 1944. As part of the commemoration English Heritage is conducting a review of the remains of Operation Neptune, the cross-Channel assault phase of the invasion Operation Overlord. Planning for the invasion and the liberation of Europe began as early as 1942 and Operation Neptune was placed under the command of Admiral Bertram Ramsey, who had played a large part in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in 1940. TheRead more

6 Stunning Lighthouses (From 1AD to the Present Day)

Trinity House, the lighthouse authority for England and Wales, celebrates its 500th anniversary today after being granted a charter by Henry VIII on 20 May, 1514. To commemorate this day, let me take you on a quick tour of England’s rich lighthouse heritage. The earliest recorded lighthouse in England, still standing, although disused for centuries, is the Roman pharos at Dover, hinting by its presence at possible Roman wrecks off the Kent coast. Medieval structures bear witness to the shipwrecks which causedRead more