The Maritime Archaeology Trust values highly the contribution of volunteers. We have a group of individuals who volunteer with us by regularly, coming into our offices to help with project work and also (where appropriately qualified) help with diving and foreshore projects. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for us to accommodate volunteers though we do our best to do so within the projects that we have running.
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Maritime archaeology is not just about shipwrecks that lie on the seabed, accessible only by divers. Our coasts, rivers and the areas around waterways contain important clues to our maritime heritage. The Maritime Archaeology Trust aims to record and preserve this heritage and our network of volunteers plays a vital role in our success. Fieldwalking along the foreshore, surveying wrecks, recording the remains of maritime industry (including docks, shipbuilding yards and salt works) and the excavation of a Saxon logboat are just some of the recent projects that our volunteers have worked on. All we require is that you have a pair of wellies and are willing to get stuck in! We run intertidal opportunites throughout the year around the region.
The Maritime Archaeology Trust runs a programme of volunteer and student diving projects. These generally run over the summer season (May-September).
There is diving on a range of sites around the Solent, incuding dive days and longer residential projects.
To come and dive as a volunteer for us, we request that you;
- Have a qualification of at least CMAS 2* or equivalent (BSAC Dive Leader & Sports Diver / PADI Rescue Diver) or the equivalent from another organisation.
- Have attended at least an NAS Part 1 training course or have an equivalent amount of experience.
- We also ask that you have a minimum of around 20/25 dives in a drysuit in cold water conditions.
Fieldwork is a very small part of an archaeological project. Initial research and post fieldwork analysis helps to gain the maximum information from a site. We encourage any help from the public and are happy to assist with personal research where we can.
Research opportunities include:
- Drawing up plans/artefacts
- Cataloguing and archiving
- Organising our photos and slides
- Trips to libraries and public record offices
- Talking to people to build up our record of local knowledge
- Looking at charts/maps
- Adding more information to our maritime sites and monument records
Volunteering at Sunken Secrets: shipwrecks and submerged settlements exhibition
We aim to promote and disseminate our archaeological work as far and wide as possible. Volunteers make a vital contribution to getting the Maritime Archaeology Trust message out the general public and one way of doing this is through the Sunken Secrets exhibition at Fort Victoria on the western side of the Isle of Wight. In the Sunken Secrets exhibition and you can get closer to fascinating underwater finds from around the Solent from famous shipwrecks to submerged landscapes. To help this exhibition stay open during the season (March till October) volunteers play a key role in the daily management of the displays, artefacts and gift shop.
We have a full volunteer policy. Click here to view the policy.
Other useful links for volunteers
Potential volunteers may find it useful to undertake a NAS (Nautical Archaeology Society) introduction course before participating in fieldwork. This one day course provides background to maritime archaeology. More information about NAS training course is available via their website.