Verity Landrock is a graduate of Southampton University and has worked on HMS Hazardous and Invincible as a diver.

As part of my Masters’ in maritime archaeology at the University of Southampton in 2018 I visited the depths of Suffolk, spending three days recording an assemblage which consisted of nine boats from all over the world. Unfortunately, that was all I did with the project at the time, so when I saw that there was a call for volunteers to help with the archiving of the larger collection these few had come from, I jumped at the chance.

Therefore, on Saturday 21st June I attended the Online Archiving Workshop, which aimed to instruct participants in the recording of the vast digital database of photos, plans and notes. This was hosted by both the NAS, with the ever-energetic NAS Education Manager Peta Knott, and the representatives of the International Sailing Craft Association (ISCA) project (also known as Traditional Boat Records’ Archive) - Abigail Parkes, Jack Pink and Lucy Blue from Southampton University and Pat Tanner of 3D Scanning Ireland Ltd. This panel of experts made for an excellently interesting day and showed just how well the NAS and their collaborators have risen to the challenge of keeping up with their teaching and volunteer opportunities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The whole day ran very smoothly, except for the occasional personal technological hiccup. Carefully explained was the methodology Abi was using in order to make her way through vast amount of digital data and how we as volunteers could help. Homework set throughout the day allowed us to practice this recording and get a feel for what we might encounter as volunteers. Thank you all for a stimulating and useful day - I cannot wait to get stuck in with helping to catalogue the collection!


James Ward-Gwilliam is an archaeology graduate with a fascination for maritime archaeology who previously worked on the HMS Invincible investigation as well as an antiquities themed/ exploration cruise line.

What happens to records when collections are broken up? How do we digitise and collate these records? How do we make them into readable and easy to search formats? How, during COVID-19, do we carry on preserving, digitising and archiving this work?

These were some of the questions I had going into the Online Digital Cataloguing course I took part in over the weekend.

I've been interested and trying to get involved with the Traditional Boat Records’ Archive for almost a year which was why I was taking part in the course on Saturday.

The course was done through GoToMeeting and hosted by Peta, with tutorage by Abigail Parkes, and guest lecturers Lucy Blue, Jack Pink and Pat Tanner. We were given lectures and taught how to catalogue digital records, traditional boats recorded in 3D, the current fate of world's largest collection of traditional boats. Alongside practical exercises.

I had hoped to get out of this course the skills I needed to do the work needed in the traditional boats archive research project as well as any future archive work or recording work I would like to be involved with. And now I feel confident to be part of this ongoing project.



Philip Sims is currently studying for a Masters’ Degree in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton.

I joined the NAS quite recently on the recommendation of various acquaintances. This was my second event as a member and, like the previous one, was conducted online. As most people attending were somewhat familiar with the concept by now, this did not faze anyone and there were no major technical issues, indeed the day’s activities ended more than an hour ahead of schedule, as everything was handled so efficiently.

The event was a description of the Traditional Boat Records Project, in which a collection of traditionally crafted boats of every description from around the world were gathered and eventually surveyed by Southampton University students, NAS and others. The results of the surveys are still being catalogued and, between lectures on the history of the collection (including one in a beguiling Irish brogue), attendees practised putting survey data into the proper format. It was not particularly complicated for anyone with a modicum of cataloguing experience, but the aim was primarily to get people interested in volunteering. In my case at least, it worked.


James MacDonell Having has just completed his third year as an undergraduate Archaeology student at the University of Southampton.


For my undergraduate studies I often found myself using online archives of archaeological artefacts in essays and assignments. In doing so I had never truly given much thought to the origin of said archives, more just grateful that they existed in the first place. The Online Archiving Workshop: Traditional Boat Digital Records  offered an invaluable opportunity not only to better understand how online archives are created, so I could better use them in my studies, but also how I could contribute to the preservation of the historical record myself.

The hands-on section was certainly a personal challenge, it’s surprisingly difficult to describe a picture or plan drawing of a boat with significant enough detail to be useful yet enough brevity to be scan read by a potential future researcher pouring through a collection of thousands of similar items.

The course was not only highly informative, explaining the history of the fascinating collection of traditional boats that sadly no longer exists in the UK, but also emphasised the importance that digital archives have in preserving heritage beyond the lifespan of physical collections. I went into the course hoping to expand my own understanding of online archives and left with a desire to use my new skillset to help preserve the record of this fascinating collection in perpetuity.


Interested in beginning your own journey to discovery? Learn more about our upcoming courses here.

Have a story of your own to share? Find out about writing for us here.