Underwater surveys at Scapa Flow

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Photo: Last year, Historic Scotland commissioned sonar surveys of the sea bed revealing new details of scuttled merchant ships from WWI and WWII

New marine surveys, commissioned by Historic Scotland, targeting wartime remains will be taking place in Scapa Flow, Orkney up until the end of November 2013. 

Historic Scotland says that the surveys will provide information on the extent, survival and condition of a number of marine cultural heritage sites that have not been recorded by previous work.

 Andrew Fulton, Senior Designations Office, Historic Scotland, said: “Scapa Flow was used in both world wars as a main harbour for the Royal Navy.  Historians and archaeologists have increasingly recognised the diversity of remains on the seabed.  This work will increase our understanding of Scapa Flow’s marine heritage sites and fill the gaps in our mapping."

The surveys will be conducted by Orca Marine, a Department of Orkney College and Sula Diving. They will record sites using side-scan sonar and then dive to identify the nature and character of the remains. 

Work will focus on the remains of blockships around the Churchill Barriers and a number of other sites in and around the Gutter Sound to build up the case for setting up a Historic Marine Protected Area.

The outcomes of the surveys will be made available at a workshop in Orkney, which will be organised by Historic Scotland and facilitated by the Marine Archaeology Forum in Spring 2014.