Maritime Archaeology

This year we will be running our first course at Chatham Historic Dockyard, a maritime museum on the site of the former royal/naval dockyard at Chatham in Kent, and one of Historic England’s Heritage Angels winners in 2018 in the category of major regeneration project.

The Royal Dockyard at Chatham on the Medway River is a unique site with a rich history in the production of naval ships, including Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory. Its closure in the 1980s made a significant impact on the local community, and on Chatham’s long history of building, repairing and supplying ships, which had spanned nearly four centuries. The site has been regenerated and retains more than 90 buildings and structures, of which 47 are listed, with three historical warships in dry docks - HMS Cavalier (1944), HM Submarine Ocelot (1962), and HMS Gannet (1878).

This course will comprise of five talks from expert speakers, covering a range of issues in maritime heritage/archaeology. The speakers will cover themes on the history and work of the dockyard at Chatham, the heritage of Portsmouth dockyard, and marine archaeology across the Thames estuary. 

Lunch will be provided, followed by a chance to visit the dockyard with a guided tour of the site, introduced by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and led by expert speaker Peter Kendall of Historic England.

Talks include:

Chatham Dockyard: Constructive Conservation

Peter Kendall, Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England, will discuss overall approach to adaptive re-use under the ethos of Constructive Conservation on the site, and will also lead a tour of the site after lunch.

Peter Kendall is an archaeologist working as an Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England. He has been responsible for the work of this organisation at Chatham dockyard and its associated fortifications for more than 25 years during which time he has worked closely with the owners of heritage assets and with the local authority to help deliver solutions for the conservation and re-use of the many military sites that are no longer required for national defence and which must hence find alternative futures. His published research is on the Royal Engineers whose regimental home is at Chatham.

Portsmouth: the site of Britain’s first national naval and oldest continually used dockyard

Ann Coats, Consultant Historian Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, will introduce the network of royal dockyards and explain why Chatham’s seventeenth century prominence was lost to Portsmouth by the early eighteenth century.

Senior Lecturer in Heritage Property at the University of Portsmouth and Chair of the Naval Dockyards Society, Ann Coats has studied royal dockyards as an administrative system and Portsmouth in particular since 1992 with her thesis, ‘The economy of the navy and Portsmouth. A discourse between the civilian naval administration of Portsmouth dockyard and the surrounding communities, 1650 to 1800’ (2000). She is also co-author of Historic England’s Twentieth Century Naval Dockyards: Devonport and Portsmouth Characterisation Report (2015).

CITiZAN (Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network)

Lara Band, lead archaeologist for the CITiZAN (Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network) East Kent Coast Discovery Programme has had a long career in archaeology, museums and built heritage. Formerly Acting Head of Standing Buildings at MOLA she was previously a curator at Åland Maritime Museum, a project officer at the Weald and Downland Living Museum and an archaeologist in Finland and the UK. Lara will speak about CITiZAN, an England wide community archaeology project raising awareness of the threat of climate change to coastal and intertidal archaeological sites. CITiZAN has established a framework for ongoing recording and monitoring of these sites, most of which have no statutory protection, and by doing so also uses archaeology as a tool to understand coastal change.

CITiZAN promotes the ongoing recording and monitoring of these sites, most of which have no statutory protection, and by doing so also uses archaeology as a tool to understand coastal change.

Pudding Pan, a Romano-British shipwreck and its cargo in context

Dr Michael Walsh is a freelance marine archaeologist, who until recently was the senior marine consultant at Cotswold Archaeology. He has worked on a broad range of maritime and terrestrial sites throughout the British Isles, Europe, the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf in both a commercial and academic capacity.  He has extensive experience in the UK offshore sector and has worked on numerous projects such as offshore windfarms and interconnectors, dealing with all aspects of the EIA and consents process. Michael will be speaking about two very different sites in the Thames estuary on which he has worked.

In his first talk he will discuss his search for a Roman shipwreck, known as Pudding Pan, lost off the North Kent coast in the late 2nd century AD, which was the subject of his doctoral research. Michael’s talk will cover the history of this unusual site, the artefacts recovered, and how the study of this rare site-type contributes a new perspective on the organisation of trade and consumption in the Roman era.

Excavations on the 17th century warship, the London Shipwreck

The second talk by Dr Michael Walsh will focus on the London shipwreck site which lies just off the coast at Southend.  The ship sank in 1665 whilst preparing for the second Anglo-Dutch war. The talk will include a history of the site, a summary of the three seasons of excavation on the site, and the subsequent post-excavation conservation and analysis of the recovered finds.   





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Maritime archaeology at Chatham Historic Dockyard

Images courtesy of Chatham Historic Dockyard

Maritime History: HMS Cavalier

Images courtesy of Chatham Historic Dockyard

Maritime heritage at Chatham Historic Dockyard

Images courtesy of Chatham Historic Dockyard