Two divers under water surveying part of a seaweed covered ship wreck on the sea floor.
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Two divers surveying what they believe is part of a gun casement on the wreck of HMS Montagu © Wessex Archaeology
Two divers surveying what they believe is part of a gun casement on the wreck of HMS Montagu © Wessex Archaeology

Wreck Expeditions 2018

Archaeologists are investigating three important shipwreck sites this summer. Read on to browse our maritime blogs, tour protected shipwrecks and follow the expedition teams as they prise secrets from the long lost ships' remains.

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Summer 2018 expeditions

Volunteers showing the outline of the newly discovered Tankerton wreck near Whitstable, North Kent
Volunteers showing the outline of the newly discovered Tankerton wreck near Whitstable, North Kent © Historic England

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.

Explore our virtual 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.

A man and woman browsing a graphic representation of a shipwreck.
Dive into one of our virtual tours of important historic wrecks © Historic England

Three wrecks to walk to at low tide

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.

Join licensed divers on a dive trail

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.

Diver Mark Beattie-Edwards at the surface before diving a wreck.
Diving a protected wreck site dive trail is an enjoyable way to visit a site and find out more about it © Mark Beattie-Edwards

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.

Submerged diver wearing SCUBA gear drawing observations of a wreck on the sea bed on a white pad.
Archaeologist drawing observations at the Rooswijk wreck site © Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed
A map of the locations of wrecks with legal protection around the coast of the UK dated August 2017
There are currently 53 wrecks designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 in England © Historic England

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.

A diver next to an upstanding cannon barrel buried in the seabed.
One of Colossus' upper gun-deck ‘upstanding’ guns on the stern site. These are 18lb guns which are 9 feet (2.75 metres) long; roughly half the length of the gun is buried in the seabed. © CISMAS
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