MAST iconMaritime Archaeology Sea Trust
A photo of The treacherous South Hams coastline
The treacherous South Hams coastline

Early Shipwreck Project

MAST's early shipwreck project, in partnership with Bournemouth University, is ongoing. There are very few shipwrecks that date to before 1800, less than 3% of England's known shipwrecks sites are this old. Of some sites such as the 16th century carrack, the Mary Rose, much is known, of others nothing except of their presence on the seabed.

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the presence of pre-1800 shipwrecks in key areas. Last year, thanks to generous donations, a MAST team conducted a magnetometer survey in the area off the South Hams, South Devon. The aim, currently, is to identify the extent of archaeological material, if any, and to make our research public. Analysis is currently underway.

Much of area’s coastline is exposed to the prevailing weather, and the county has a many shipwreck sites. The South Hams form a large promontory jutting out into the English Channel, and since the beginning of seafaring have formed a natural ship trap. Wrecks in the area date back as far as the Bronze Age, some of the oldest in the world, to some of the more recent with the wreck of the cargo ship Demetrios in 1992 and the famous wreck of HMS Ramillies lost with around 850 men in 1760 off Bolt Tail, Britain’s greatest naval disaster.

The magnetometer was the Geometrix G882 and we used Hypack plot the lines and process the data.