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

7 Places That Tell the Story of London’s International Heritage

London has always been a city of movement and migration, and the diversity of its population has made an important mark on its character. Greater London has just over 19,000 listed buildings, 162 scheduled monuments and 152 registered landscapes on the List and these special assets serve two important roles: one, they celebrate the extraordinary time-depth of human activity in a great world city; and two, they help to identify the places that should be safeguarded amidst the great paceRead 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

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

Uncovering England’s Shipwrecks

Serena Cant works as the specialist maritime data officer, maintaining a database of over 37,000 wrecks to help inform English Heritage’s designation strategy on historic wrecks. As well as updating records with the results of professional archaeological assessments, she writes extensively on maritime heritage and also deals with public enquiries. Here she explains some recent exciting discoveries which have come to light following contact from members of the public.   I’m passionate about what I do: shipwrecks illuminate so many differentRead more

Looking inside: Investigation of marine archaeological artefacts

Angela Middleton holds a degree in archaeological conservation from the University of Applied Sciences, Berlin/ Germany and an MSc in Maritime Conservation Science from the University of Portsmouth/ UK. She has worked for the Newport Medieval Ship Project and the Michael Faraday Museum of the Royal Institution before joining English Heritage as an Archaeological Conservator in 2007. She advises on and undertakes research and investigative conservation on material retrieved from land and marine sites, with a special interest in the conservationRead more

Diving into History with the English Heritage Dive Trails

Alison James is a maritime archaeologist based in the Designation Department of English Heritage. Part of her role includes the licensing and management of sites designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. As a maritime archaeologist who dives I am lucky enough to get the opportunity to access some of the 47 Protected Wreck Sites that are currently designated off England. Maritime archaeology is often by its very nature inaccessible, lying deep beneath the waves and out of sight ofRead more