Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust

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Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust
Formation 2011
Legal status Charitable Trust
Purpose Maritime Archaeological research, fieldwork, conservation, education & training
Headquarters United Kingdom
  • United Kingdom
Region served Worldwide
Official language English
Patron Baron Iliffe
Remarks Registered charity number 1140497

Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST) is a charitable trust founded in February 2011,[1] which focuses on investigations into the maritime heritage of the United Kingdom and further afield, through historical and archaeological investigations. MAST uses its profits from contract work as well as donations to fund its charitable aims.

Its stated objective is to advance the education of the public in maritime heritage, focusing in particular on maritime archaeological material, by such means as the directors in their discretion shall from time to time think fit including the preservation and investigation of shipwrecked vessels and of historically or otherwise valuable maritime material and the dissemination of the educationally useful results of such investigation to the general public. It does this by conducting archaeological surveys, conservation of material and occasional excavations. Clients include English Heritage, the Ministry of Defence and the National Trust.[2]

Friends of MAST include: Poole Museum, York Archaeological Trust and the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage [3]


MAST takes a holistic approach to maritime archaeology covering a wide range of methods and environments including geophysics (both on land and sea), excavations, surveys, conservation and desk-based research.

Coronation Geophysical Survey[edit]

A Geophysical Survey was conducted by MAST and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Maritime Archaeological Society (CISMAS) on the Coronation Protected Wreck Site. Promare UK was sub-contracted to conduct the magnetometer survey and Swathe Services to conduct a multibeam survey producing a site plan of geo-referenced targets of both designated sites and the Intermediate area.

The Coronation was a 90-gun second rate, built in 1685 by Isaac Betts at Portsmouth dockyard as one of the 1677 thirty-ships programme. On 3 September 1691 after patrolling for the French fleet, the English Fleet made for Plymouth. The Coronation foundered in a strong south easterly gale whilst trying to round Penlee Point with a loss of all but 13 of her crew, including the captain, Charles Skelton.

The Coronation Protected wreck site consists of two designated areas: Inshore (designated 1988) & Offshore (designated 1978). The area in between these two protected sites is known as the "Intermediate" site wherein lies an unverified scatter of archaeological material.[4]

Bamburgh Castle Beach Wreck[edit]

A rarely seen portion of an unknown wreck within the intertidal zone of Bamburgh Castle Beach was reported to MAST by Steve Brown, a PADI Basic Archaeological Diver (BAD) Instructor and local historian. MAST has conducted two preliminary surveys of the site in 2013 to establish the extent of the site and how much remains under the sand.[5]

The survival and position of some of the features within the wreck would suggest that the buried structure could be mostly intact as the position of hull structure, deck beams, masts and even deck fittings are all as would be expected from a mostly intact buried vessel.

Dendrochronological samples were taken as part of this survey to try and establish the date and origin of the vessel.[6]

Swash Channel Wreck Artefacts[edit]

MAST has donated funds to conserve three of the carvings from the Swash Channel Wreck as well as a canister

They were raised in August 2010. The two carvings were found directly above the gunports in the bowcastle and are in extremely good condition. They bring the number of carvings found on the site to five.

The work will be done by the York Archaeological Trust. Once conserved you will be able to see the artefacts up close at Poole Museum.[7][8][9]

MoD wrecks[edit]

MAST, in partnership with Bournemouth University, won a Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract to assess the environmental and safety risks posed by the tankers RFA Creosol (1916), RFA War Mehtar (1919) and the escort carrier HMS Dasher (D37). This assessment includes research into the history of the wreck and its cargo/contents.

The ships fall into two broad groups, purpose-built tankers and an escort aircraft carrier converted from a merchant ship. The first two are relatively simple vessels and the third a much more complex vessel that is likely to be complicated by its conversion and change of use and reuse.[10]

Not for Profit[edit]

MAST has conducted two major charity events off Plymouth Sound. One in 2012 and one in 2013. In September 2012 MAST raised £6,000 to raise awareness for maritime heritage in the UK and for the RNLI's Plymouth branch.[11]

In August 2013, MAST raised money again to raise awareness for the need to protect UK maritime heritage but also for the charity Battle Back which received £2,000 towards helping injured Service personnel in their rehabilitation.[12]

Diving Speciality[edit]

In 2012 MAST created a PADI Distinctive Specialty called Basic Archaeological Diver, a no frills, no fuss introduction to the basics of archaeology underwater with simple recording techniques using little more than a camera and tape measures. The introduction to the basics includes a lecture on the laws governing divers and underwater archaeology in the UK.[13]


  1. ^ "Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  2. ^ "North and South Sands canoe trail, Salcombe". National Trust. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  3. ^ "Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust : Friends of Mast". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Shipwreck offers unique opportunity for study". Northumberland Gazette. 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  7. ^ "Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust : Swash Channel Wreck Artefacts". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  8. ^ "UK Minister For Culture Ed Vaizey Visits The York Archaeology Trust To View Marine Artefacts | Scubaverse | The World's Best Online Dive Companion". Scubaverse. 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  9. ^ "BBC News - Poole Swash Channel Wreck: Raising the rudder". 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  10. ^ "MoD wrecks". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  11. ^ "Plymouth RNLI receives £1,000 donation". Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  12. ^ Herald, Plymouth (2013-08-17). "Divers delving deep to help injured heroes". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  13. ^ Dive Training (2013-08-05). "An Introduction to the PADI Distinctive Specialty B.A.D. (Basic Archaeological Diver) | Scubaverse | The World's Best Online Dive Companion". Scubaverse. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 

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