News from the Scheme

The Marine Antiquities Scheme extends to Northern Ireland

Published: Tuesday 20th February 2018 Author: MAS

​Northern Ireland MAS Launch

The scheme, which launched in England and Wales in July 2016, aims to enhance awareness of Northern Ireland's marine heritage by helping record archaeological finds in the marine environment. Through its website and mobile app, MAS enables users to record archaeological material discovered anywhere from the Mean Low Water Level in England, Wales and now Northern Ireland too. The scheme was created through the partnership of a number of organisations including Wessex Archaeology, The British Museum, The Crown Estate and the British Sub-Aqua Club, and in consultation with the Receiver of Wreck. With the launch of MAS in Northern Ireland, the Historic Environment Division (Department for Communities) has joined the partnership to support the research and documentation of finds in the region's waters. In the 18 months since MAS was launched in England and Wales, 352 finds have been recorded by members of the public. Some of the most interesting finds include a collection of Roman pottery, which includes the legible name-stamp of Advocisus in Central Gaul from around AD200, and a medieval pilgrim's ampulla used for carrying holy water.

Toby Gane, project manager in charge of implementing MAS at Wessex Archaeology said: "We are delighted to be involved with the Marine Antiquities Scheme and that it is now to be extended to Northern Ireland. A team at Wessex Archaeology is responsible for implementing the Scheme on behalf of the partnership, which means that we manage all finds made under the scheme and ensure that they are recorded on the MAS database. We look forward to working with organisations in Northern Ireland as the scheme is extended".

Iain Greenway, Director of Historic Environment Division, add​s: "I welcome the extension of the Marine Antiquities Scheme to Northern Ireland. The scheme will undoubtedly help to increase public participation with marine archaeology in Northern Ireland waters, whilst also promoting best practice with regard to the treatment and legal reporting of these finds."

About MAS

The MAS app allows users to locate, record and submit information about archaeological material discovered anywhere within the waters of England, Wales or Northern Ireland from the Mean Low Water Level. It is also a resource for anyone wanting to know more about marine archaeology and underwater heritage. All finds, once verified by a team of archaeological experts and when the legal requirements relating to wreck have been observed, are published on the MAS database with details of the item's origins and history. Since the launch, a Heritage Lottery Funding grant and support from the Fishing Protocol for Archaeological Discoveries has enabled improvement to the app to allow users to input their activity at time of the find. The Crown Estate and Wessex Archaeology are working with industry bodies and partners to secure long-term future funding for MAS.

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36th International Shipwreck Conference

Published: Tuesday 30th January 2018 Author: MAS

The MAS and Wessex Archaeology will have a stand at the36th International Shipwreck Conference​ in Plymouth on 3rd February, 2018. There will be a range of finds for attendees to have a look at along with members of the Wessex Archaeology team available to show how the MAS app works and to discuss the reporting process.

100 Objects Target Passed.

Published: Wednesday 14th June 2017 Author: MAS

A big thank you to all the finders for helping make the Marine Antiquities Scheme a success. Since its inception last year, 107 objects have been reported throught the scheme, which is a fantastic result. Awareness of the scheme continues to grow and the diving community, particularly in Kent, have reported some very interesting material recently. We look forward to sharing these with you in the coming months.

If you have reported objects through the Scheme, and haven't yet sent your signed Receiver of Wreck form off, please do so as soon as possible, so we can share your finds with wider community.

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MAS Presentation

Published: Tuesday 10th January 2017 Author: MAS

On Wednesday, 15th February Toby Gane, Senior Project Manager with Wessex Archaeology, will be doing a presentation on the Marine Antiquities Scheme, with a question and answer session afterwards. The event has been organised by Folkestone 501 dive club and will take place at the Folkestone Yacht and Motorboat Club on North Street, Folkestone, CT19 6AF. The meeting starts at 20:00 and anyone is welcome to attend.

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Unexploded ordnance guide for the Marine Antiquities Scheme

Published: Wednesday 14th December 2016 Author: MAS Team

6 Alpha, in collaboration with the Marine Antiquities Scheme, have produced an unexploded ordnance guide. This guide provides advice to all users of the marine environment regarding the hazards associated with unexploded ordnance and the actions to take on finding a UXO.

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Three months of the Marine Antiquities Scheme

Published: Tuesday 8th November 2016 Author: MAS Team

It has now been three months since the launch of the MAS, which is providing divers, fishermen, boat operators and coastal visitors with a new way to record underwater finds. Central to the MAS is the simple-to-use app, available for iOS and Android devices.

Wessex Archaeology's team of experts has researched more than 70 objects, including 19th-century clay pipes, chevron beads and a WW2 British Landing Craft (Assault). These records can be viewed on the MAS database.

MAS outreach commenced with CITiZAN's second annual conference, Turn the Tide, held at the fantastic SS Great Britain in Bristol. This was a prime opportunity to connect with like-minded professional and community colleagues whose work intersects with the MAS at the low tide mark.

At DIVE 2016, held at the Birmingham NEC, the MAS shared a stand with the Nautical Archaeology Society. We were able to engage with recreational UK divers, as well as developing contacts with regional diving organisations, clubs and shops.

The MAS team were also on hand at the Skipper Expo in Bournemouth, where attendees were able to learn about the MAS app at the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisation stand. The archaeological community at the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) and Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion (SCAPE) Trust conference, held in Glasgow, also had the opportunity to discover the details of the MAS.

If you haven't already done so, why not download a poster to put on your nearest noticeboard or send to anyone you feel may be interested in the scheme.

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Release of the MAS video

Published: Tuesday 18th October 2016 Author: MAS Team

The MAS has released a video as part of its ongoing outreach programme to promote the scheme. It briefly explains the process of recording finds and, importantly, takes viewers step-by-step through using the MAS app (available from Google Play and the App Store), including the GPS and camera functions.

Watch the video here.

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MAS at Turn the Tide 2016

Published: Friday 14th October 2016 Author: MAS Team

If you missed seeing the MAS team at CITiZAN's Turn the Tide 2016 you can make a virtual visit to the conference here. It was a fantastic day networking with colleagues from the Nautical Archaeology Society, PADI, Historic England and many other professional and community groups. A highlight was learning about archaeological sites and coastal erosion along the English Channel and Atlantic shores with French colleagues from the Archéologie, Littoral et Réchauffement Terrestre (ALeRT Project).

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Online recording form active

Published: Wednesday 28th September 2016 Author: MAS Team

The MAS is excited to announce that the online recording form for submitting finds is now active on the website. Follow this link to use the form. As well as requiring the date, and name and email address of finder, the form provides for a description of the location of the find, coordinates (latitude/longitude) and a description of the find. After selecting whether the find was left where found or recovered, you can go to the next page and upload photographs. The MAS team looks forward to researching the finds you submit!

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A new era for marine archaeology

Published: Thursday 11th August 2016 Author: MAS Team

We had the pleasure of hosting the launch of the Marine Antiquities Scheme at the British Museum in July 2016, with an opening address by Dr Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum. We hope that this exciting new initiative will mark a new era for publicly driven data sharing in the marine environment, based on the success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Michael Lewis, Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure at the British Museum, discusses the Marine Antiquities Scheme here.

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