Maritime Archaeology Updates

Diving Deeper with the Maritime Archaeology Trust

Month: June 2017 (page 2 of 2)

Volunteer in Focus: Rachel Patten

In light of National Volunteer Week 2017, the Maritime Archaeology Trust would like to highlight some of the important work contributed by our volunteers. We sent out a questionnaire for our volunteers to fill in and give us their view on what it is like to volunteer for the Maritime Archaeology Trust. This is what Ms Rachel Patten thought.

What do you do as a volunteer for the Maritime Archaeology Trust?

I do data entry which has so far included:

Entering information about shipwrecks of WW1 from different sources such as digital copies of old shipping documents and researchers hand written notes into an Excel database.

Inputting survey data from questionnaires given to people at event talks into an online database.

Making digital copies of physical documents and sorting documents into the correct folders.


How did you get involved?

I wanted real world experience in data entry so an education and employment advisor from the council suggested the Maritime Archaeology Trust to me.


Anything you have learnt from working with the Trust?

I have learnt of the vast amount of work done by the trust to keep people informed about marine archaeology and in particular the work done about the shipwrecks of WW1 and WW2.

I have learnt of the sheer amount of wrecks in the local area.

I have learnt how they are using virtual reality in order to show people the wrecks.

I have learnt how to do data entry with a variety of sources and applications.


Have you enjoyed anything in particular?

I have enjoyed the variety of work I have been assigned.

I have enjoyed working with a happy and supportive team.

To learn more about what kind of work our volunteers do for the Trust, see the following blog post:

Have you got a spare hour or day in the week and looking for something to do? Fancy learning new skills in archaeology? Want to learn more about our maritime heritage? Well why not drop us an email on today and find out more?

National Volunteering Week 1st June to 7th June 2017

As a non-profit charity organisation, the Maritime Archaeology Trust is very dependent on the amazing work our volunteers do for us! Over the years our volunteers have joined us in numerous projects and helped complete various tasks.

The people who work with us have come from various different backgrounds and bring in a range of skills which has been a tremendous resource for us. We have had divers provide us with pictures and detailed information of the wrecks they have dived on, which makes it possible for us to get primary data from the site without actually visiting it ourselves. Our current project, Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War, has 1100 sites that are included and without the support from the diving community this would be an impossible task for us to tackle.

Recording a wreck on the foreshore

Mr Steve Harvey has kindly lent his drone flying expertise to us during several site visits!

In addition to underwater sites we have also located relevant sites on the foreshore. The Trust has regular excursions to these sites where we together with volunteers record the features and current conditions of the wrecks. We have had volunteers bring their own drone equipment which allowed us to get aerial footage of the site as well as teaching other volunteers how to fly a drone.

The information we collect as part of the project doesn’t just come from primary archaeological sites. We also have volunteers who travel to various archives to wade through the wealth of information that hasn’t seen the light of day since it was archived. In addition to this we also record artefacts that are relevant to the wrecks of the First World War. The volunteers create a detailed photographic and written record of each artefact we record.

Volunteers recording artefacts at the Shipwreck Centre and Maritime Museum on the Isle of Wight

All of this information will then have to be put into a database where it is accessible to everyone. This is no small task with thousands of sites, documents and photographs to upload. Needless to say that without the help of volunteers working on making it all available, the majority of this information would be sat gathering dust on our servers.

Watercolour paintings by Mike Greaves

The work doesn’t end here however! Now the task is to let people know what we are up to and how they can access this information. As an organisation, the Trust regularly attends events locally and further afield. Our outreach team is often supported by volunteers who join them on the day to talk to the public. The displays we bring with us include artefacts for people to handle and electronic mini-airlifts and mini-ROVs for children to play with. The latter also requires regular maintenance which is also done by volunteers. During the events we attend we also bring with us free publications for people to read and take home. One of the most popular freebies we have available are the postcards with the beautiful watercolour artwork painted by one of our volunteers.

As illustrated in this post, the Maritime Archaeology Trust would simply not function in the same way without the brilliant work volunteers put in for us. In light of the National Volunteer Week 2017, the Maritime Archaeology Trust would like to highlight the work of our volunteers and thank you for your previous, current and future hard work! During the volunteering week we will be posting some of our volunteers’ stories of how they came to work with us, what they do and how it has benefitted them as well as us.

Fancy gaining some new skills and learning new things about our maritime past? You don’t have to be a qualified diver to volunteer and no previous maritime archaeological experience is required! Get in touch:

For more information about the volunteering opportunities available, please see this online booklet:

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