Shipwrecks and History in Plymouth Sound
Plymouth in Devon has a long and varied maritime history that stretches back to the arrival of the first humans in the south-west of England. The evidence of this can be seen on land in its buildings, monuments, docks and harbours but there is also much to be found on the shoreline and underwater. The waters of Plymouth Sound and the adjoining rivers have seen hundreds of maritime events, accidents and disasters; some witnessed and recorded but many more happened unseen and undocumented. In 2009 the SHIPS Project (Shipwrecks and History in Plymouth Sound) was started by a group of shipwreck enthusiasts and divers in Plymouth with the aim of recording the maritime history of the area.
The SHIPS Project is the flagship project for ProMare UK; already it has helped with a number of shipwreck investigations by local dive teams, historical research and geophysical surveys undertaken with local companies and the University of Plymouth.
A significant aspect of the SHIPS project has been in recording and identifying finds recovered by divers from the waters around Plymouth, already this has unearthed two Greco-Roman anchors, ancient stone anchors, Roman pottery as well as some artefacts recovered from some of the historically significant shipwrecks in the area.
Much the work used to collect information for the SHIPS Project is done by local dive groups so providing advice and training are important parts of the SHIPS Project. The project team provides informal advice and guidance about shipwrecks but also provides formal training using the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) training scheme.
The SHIPS Project raising awareness within the local community of the rich and diverse maritime heritage in the area and is providing a focus for the divers and researchers who are already working here. The SHIPS Project is supported by the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter, the Nautical Archaeology Society and the South-West Maritime History Society.