Taking to the Water publication

Wide area RESON multibeam survey of the designated ship wreck site of submarine HMS AI
Hoo Fort, Kent. Hulk vessels placed around Hoo Fort to provide defence against erosion of salt marshes

Taking to the Water: English Heritage Initial Policy for the Management of Maritime Archaeology in England

Taking to the Water discusses the broad characteristics of the maritime archaeological resource in English territorial waters, the character of inventories of marine archaeological sites and the role and relationships of professional maritime archaeologists, amateur maritime archaeologists and recreational divers. It also discusses the legislative framework pertaining to maritime archaeology and the future role of English Heritage and Local Authority archaeological officers. Furthermore, it considers how English Heritage can fulfil its new obligations to better understand and manage the maritime archaeological resource.

The document:

  • endorses the central role played by the National Monuments Record in the management of maritime archaeology in England;
  • identifies the need to stimulate and support the development of an enhanced body of professional maritime archaeologists, through appropriate training and support;
  • confirms the desirability of working closely with amateur maritime archaeologists, offering them opportunities, assistance, training and guidance;
  • identifies a need to engage with the recreational diving community and the non-diving public to instil an enthusiasm for the maritime historic environment and its conservation;
  • proposes a review of the role of the archaeological diving contractor;
    identifies areas potentially in need of legislative change, and makes broad proposals for a new legislative framework for England;
  • summarises how English Heritage will initially meet its new responsibilities;
  • proposes the promotion of greater local accountability in decision making on maritime archaeology through the involvement of local government archaeological officers and the establishment and enhancement of locally based marine Sites and Monuments Records;
  • describes the areas of research that will be accorded highest priority by English Heritage.

The full text version of this document is available in hard copy and as a PDF download.

If you would like further information please contact the English Heritage Maritime Team at: 

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Taking to the Water:English Heritage Initial Policy for the Management of Maritime Archaeology in England