The Solent Forum

Working in partnership for the future

Marine Archaeology - Relevant guidance & best practice

Over the past five years there has been a significant increase in the number of available documents which set out guidance and best practice for the marine and coastal zone. Planning Policy Statement  5: Planning for the Historic Environment (PPS5) sets out the Government's planning policies on the conservation of the historic environment.

The Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton have been commissioned by English Heritage to co-ordinate the development of a research framework for the maritime, marine and coastal archaeology of England.  The research framework will provide a coherent overview of previous research into the maritime and marine historic environment of England, which will enable long-term strategic planning,  inform policy and provide a statement of agreed research priorities within which researchers can shape and seek funding for projects.

National Heritage Act

The National Heritage Act (2002) enabled English Heritage to assume responsibilities for maritime achaeology in English coastal waters, modifying the agency's functions to include securing the preservation of ancient monuments in, on, or under the seabed, and promoting the public's enjoyment of, and advancing their knowledge of ancient monuments, in, on, or under seabed. Initial duties will include those formerly undertaken by the Government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in respect to the administration of The Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.

National Monuments Record

The The Englsih Heritage Archive contains records of wreck sites and seabed archaeological features, documentary references to marine casualities and fishermen's net fastenings.

The Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (JNAPC) Code of Practice for Seabed Development (2006)

In 1995 the JNAPC published a Code of Practice for Seabed Developers with the aim of defining best practice in terms of co-operation and discussion between archaeologists and seabed developers. Although this was revised in 1998, significant changes have since taken place in the use, legislation and knowledge of the marine environment since this time, consequently a revised (JNAPC) Code of Practice was published in June 2006.

This code builds on the principles set out in the original Code and offers guidance to developers on issues such as risk management and legislative implications. A list of contacts for further advice is also provided. The code also highlights the responsibility of developers in protecting the UK’s marine heritage. While the general principles can be applied throughout the UK, specific arrangements for consultation may vary.

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Marine Aggregate Dredging and the Historic Environment: Guidance Note, 2003

Provides practical guidelines on assessing, evaluating, mitigating and monitoring archaeological impacts of marine aggregate dredging in English marine waters. The principles outlined apply throughout the UK Continental Shelf although, a range of specific arrangements apply in respect of marine aggregate dredging in Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish waters.

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Protocol for Reporting Finds of Archaeological Interest, 2005

This protocol was developed by British Marine Aggregate Producers Association (BMAPA) and English Heritage for dealing with archaeological finds being made by members of staff employed by aggregate dredging companies. The protocol deals with the reporting of finds made by staff on board dredging vessels, and at wharves.

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Historic Environment Guidance Note for the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector: Guidance Note, 2006

This guidance note was produced for the Collaborative Offshore Windfarm Research into the Environment (COWRIE/ Wessex Archaeology 2006). This guidance note promotes best practice in relation to the marine historic environment for the offshore renewable energy sector. It promotes understanding of the conservation issues arising from the impacts of such projects on the historic environment.

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Ports: the impact of development on the maritime historic environment, 2006

Is intended to inform developers on the importance and relevance of the historic environment in relation to ports and how development proposals should take this into account. The main focus is on the marine aspect of new developments, but also deals with the development of existing ports and inland impacts of development. It provides references for useful policy documents.

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IFA Standard and Guidance

Institute for Archeologists (IFA) have produced a series of codes, stadards and guidelines which are used as benchmarks for archaeological best practice. This S&G nautical archeological recording and reconstuction was a response to the increased frequency of ship and boat finds being discovered and investigated. It is designed as a high-level document that sets down standard for levels of recording within which specific strategies for individual sites and situations can be developed. The document will also aid curatorial responses to discoveries of nautical remains, which in the past have been dealt with on an ad-hoc basis.

National Historic Ships

There are currently over 1,000 vessels on the National Register of Historic Vessels and over 400 vessels on the National Archive of Historic Vessels. The databases include details of designer, builder, dimensions, construction, propulsion, service history, current location and ownership, as well as images of many of the vessels.