I started Scuba Diving in 2009, when I took a PADI Open Water course in Cyprus and continued my training by completing the Advanced Open Water course the following year in Turkey. - I have also dived in Greece and UK. I have completed the PADI Drysuit Diver speciality course and hope this will eventually open new areas of archaeology to me, as there is so much unexplored prehistoric archaeology around Britain's coast.

As a member of the Nautical Archaeology Society, I have completed the NAS Part 1: Certificate in foreshore and underwater archaeology. This was held in Chepstow and involved both theory and two dives to perform 3D surveying at the National Diving and Activity Centre.

PADI training in Turkey

NAS was founded in 1981 as a non-government organisation formed to further interest in our underwater cultural heritage and advance education in nautical archaeology at all levels by improving techniques in excavating, conservation and reporting, through the creation of a structured course. NAS also publishes the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, which as been used to report articles on the subject since 1972.

Marine archaeology is not just about finding wrecks and artefacts underwater. In February 2011, I participated in a NAS intertidal hulk recording session on Sully Island (Wales). The name of the vessel is not known, but it has been there since at least 1950 and part of the research is to try to identify it.

wreck at Sully Island (Wales)

Through the Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) , I have joined the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group (FROG). The aim of TDP is to educate and communicate the historic value of the River Thames to the widest possible audience, by working and surveying 20 archaeological sites along the river. Archaeologists from the TDP perform a series of high-precision surveys along the tidal Thames and this is supported by the work of the FROG, who monitor these sites for changes, as the daily tides scour away the remaining archaeological features.

The FROG is made up of over 200 volunteers from the general public who have been trained in foreshore recording techniques and have been certificated by the TDP. The FROG are somtimes thought of as Mudlarking on the River Thames. This can be great fun, but you need to be aware of the regulations and tide times for your own safety.

View a photo slideshow from mudlarking on the Thames (Jan 2012)>> click here

>> Read the Survey Report

The term Mudlark is used for someone who scavenges river mud for items of value and came from the late 18th and 19th centuries. Mudlarks were usually youngsters aged between 8 and 15 searching for lumps of coal, bits of old iron and other objects that fell from ships which they could sell for a few pennies. Working conditions were filthy and uncomfortable, as waste such as excrement or sometimes the corpses of humans, would wash onto the shores . Around the early 20th century a person could still claim "mudlark" as his occupation, however it was no longer seen as an acceptable or lawful pursuit

London's Society of Thames Mudlarks was founded in 1980 and now have around 60 members who have official permits to search the river foreshore with metal detectors. Browsing along the shore is fine for anyone, but digging needs an official Permit to Search the Thames Foreshore (issued by The Port of London Authority and Crown Estate Commissioners).

The one item that most people find on the Thames foreshore is the clay pipe -

The pipe on the left is is dated between 1790 and 1820 and examples are known from pipe makers in Bristol. A Royal Coat of Arms faces the smoker, there is a standing unicorn on the right-hand side of the bowl and a standing lion facing on the left-hand side.

Cyprus Mudlarking on Thames

Marine Archaeology on YouTube

  • Nautical Archaeological Society have launched a YouTube channel showing projects and training throughout the world.
  • Thames Discovery / Foreshore Recording and Observation Group (FROG) videos are online


> Marine Archaeology Links <

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