Divernet


COLIN MARTIN
UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGIST

The real value of the Resurgam
THE Resurgam project is the first major collaboration between amateur divers and archaeologists since the halcyon days of the Mary Rose - but there is a difference. Excavation, recovery, conservation and research on the scale required to bring Henry VIIs super-warship to public display involved a gargantuan national effort and the expenditure of many millions. We can probably sustain projects of this magnitude only once in a generation, if that.
The management of our underwater shipwreck resource is a matter of immediate and continuing concern. We need to know what is out there, how to protect it, and what is needed to secure or rescue threatened sites.
Garrets tiny submarine is as much a part of Britains maritime past as a Tudor warship, and this unique wreck is threatened on a number of fronts.
We know from archaeological evidence that the fragile but otherwise well-preserved iron and timber hull was recently dragged several metres from its original resting place. Still more recently, it was mindlessly damaged by vandals. Finally, it is threatened by the forces of natural decay.
Thanks to the SUBMAP project, spearheaded by Martin Dean of the Archaeological Diving Unit, amateur divers and diving professionals from several disciplines have taken matters in hand. The amateur diving movement in archaeological work has once again been amply demonstrated.
The time has come to tap the pool of enthusiasm which most divers feel for wrecks. We need to co-ordinate and foster this interest and knowledge, and teach divers the skills they need to record information and pass it on to others.
Constructive initiatives are required from all sides, but Resurgam has surely pointed us in the right direction.

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