Thanks to support from Historic Scotland the NAS ran three fieldschools with the Lochaline Dive Centre in order to offer a fieldwork opportunity in the Sound of Mull from 2009-2011.
The fieldschool aimed to increase skills and knowledge in underwater archaeology, providing training courses and the opportunity to contribute to the on-going survey of the wreck of the John Preston.
The John Preston was a 19th century merchant sailing vessel which was wrecked in 1890 whilst carrying a cargo of welsh slate. Located in 15-22metres of water, with a prominent keel and many features including a stern post, iron knees, pipes, an anchor winch and an anchor. Not to mention the large amounts of slate scatter that cover large areas of the site.
Work has been undertaken to record the current position of known features, comparing these to previous site plans and to record previously un-recored features. In 2010 the fieldschool undertook excavation on the site, attempting to confirm the presumed orientation and to identify a break in the keel. A number of small finds were uncovered and these were recorded and re-buried on the site.
In 2011, some semi permanent control points were established on the site, which will be able to form the basis for any future survey work and allow the site to be monitored in relationship to the site plan created in 2011.
In combination with the practical fieldwork, training courses were also provided in topics such as photography, illustration boat recording, publications and geophysics.
Many thanks go to Colin and Paula Martin for their assistance with running courses, Steve Liscoe for help with running the practical fieldschool, Mark and Annabel Lawrence of the Lochaline Dive Centre and of course the 22 participants, without whom the work would not have been possible.
To read more about each of the fieldschool from the participants point of view, check out the project blogs:
The reports for each year, can be found by clicking on the links below: