Wreck Expeditions 2018
Fifty-three historic wreck sites off England are protected under the Protection of Wrecks Act (1973). Ranging from Bronze-Age cargo scatters through to 20th-century submarines these historic sites help to define our nation and tell our history.
During the summer months, maritime archaeologists make the most of calmer seas and longer daylight hours to investigate these difficult to access remains. This summer, three wreck investigations funded by Historic England are under way.
On this page:
- Summer 2018 expeditions
- Want to visit a wreck?
- Read our shipwreck blogs
- How and why do we protect wrecks?
- Explore our wreck research
Summer 2018 expeditions
- Rooswijk 1740, Ramsgate
The 2018 expedition started Monday 18 June. Follow the team's progress on Twitter #Rooswijk1740.
- HMS Montagu, Lundy
Our partner Wessex Archaeology is investigating the wreck with the help of local dive clubs and Help for Heroes. Their findings will help determine whether the wreck should be listed as a protected wreck site. Check @wessexarch on Twitter to find out how the Help for Heroes dive team are getting on.
- Tankerton wreck, Whitstable
Investigation of a wreck that was discovered last year by a group of volunteers. See BBC South East's video of the wreck excavations. Follow their progress on Twitter #TankertonBayWreck.
Want to visit a wreck?
Marine archaeology usually lies deep beneath the waves and out of sight of most of us. We want everyone to be able to enjoy protected wreck sites so we're supporting the creation of dive trails.
We've commissioned virtual dive trails of some fascinating wrecks that you can tour without getting wet. The trails are free and use the latest technology and virtual reality techniques to bring maritime archaeology to life before your eyes.
Wrecks like the one at Tankerton that lie in sand or in mud in the inter-tidal zone are freely accessible to visit on public land at low tide.
Of the 53 Protected Wreck Sites off England there are currently five (and more to come) that you can access on a protected wreck dive trail.
Read our shipwreck blogs
- How to do archaeological conservation
An archaeological excavation can result in a huge amount of artefacts being excavated in a short period of time. The analysis of these artefacts can take years, or even decades to complete.
- Lost at sea: 6 of England’s shipwrecks
Shipwrecks are among the most atmospheric of our monuments, partly because they have an air of mystery and partly because they are often inaccessible.
- Women in science: 10 minutes with a maritime archaeologist
To mark the UN's International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we spoke to Maritime Archaeologist Alison James about what inspires her in her work.
- The silent service: Britain’s nuclear submarines
Many 20th century military sites survive around the country, and a number of these sites are protected due to their special architectural or historic interest.
- Tackling heritage crime
Criminal acts that threaten heritage include metal theft, criminal damage like arson, illicit trade of cultural objects and unlawful metal detecting. Here's a quick look at some of the ways we're tackling maritime and other heritage crime.
How and why do we protect wrecks?
Explore our recent wreck research
- Working on the edge
Our changing perceptions of the wreck of HMS Colossus.
- Latest Research issue 7
Illuminates the tragic story of SS Mendi and provides a three-dimensional visualisation of HMS Falmouth.
- Discovering and understanding marine archaeology
Our seas and coasts hold a rich heritage from millennia of human activity. Historic England and partners investigate wrecks and underwater archaeology sites and help to discover, understand and protect this heritage.
Wounded veterans have been carrying out a series of dives on the wreck of HMS Montagu to determine what remains of the wreck.
Also of interest...
Dive into history at a Historic England protected wreck site or explore our virtual dive trails.
Archaeologists are excavating the wreck site of the Rooswijk. Follow their progress and come to an open day at Ramsgate.
Find out more about protected wreck sites, why they are protected, and how to access them.