One of our youngest members', Aidan Cheasley, recalls his NAS journey so far, and tells us what he's been learning along the way, armed with his enthusiasm for exploring and discovering. Read his story here...

I first met the people from NAS when they visited Ramsgate in the summer of 2017 and I attended the ‘Introduction to Maritime Archaeology’ course and the Rooswijk Open Day. I didn’t know anything about nautical archaeology, so learning about the Rooswijk wreck was all new. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it, but as a 12-year-old, and a keen member of my local Scouts group, I’ve always loved exploring the outdoors, keeping active, and learning about history. So my mum took the family along to “go and have a look” (that’s one of my mum’s favourite phrases). I’m glad she did though.


We saw some really cool items that had been found in the shipwreck. Some things the archaeologists knew what they were, but others were still a mystery. It was fascinating to see things that hadn’t been seen or touched for centuries. The people from NAS were really great and told us about how voyages were planned, what sort of items were likely to be on-board, the types of roles people had on the ship and what they know about why the ship was wrecked.


I really enjoyed being able to touch some of the items found on the wreck. Seeing the simple, everyday belongings made the story far more real. But the fact they found some chests that haven’t been opened yet was really cool. Was it someone's hidden treasure, or something else?

Since then we have been to several events that NAS have organised. The last one was at Sandwich Flats in Kent a couple of weeks ago. We had been there before to explore the foreshore with NAS and MSDS Marine in October 2018. I didn’t really know what to expect then, because I hadn’t done anything like that before. The early starts were a bit of a pain, but when we got there it was really interesting. My sister and I even found a new wreck! We also saw an old bomber plane from WWII. (My friends were very jealous when I told them about it.)


This time when we explored the foreshore I was excited to see what new things we would find. Would the wrecks we found last time still be visible? What other new discoveries were waiting to be found? How many wrecks were there and how old are they? How were they made? Who made them and where? What was down the other end other beach? The more I learn, the more questions I seem to have!


I wasn’t disappointed. We discovered lots more fascinating things and I met some really nice people. One of the best bits of coming to these outings is that the NAS team and other volunteers treat us as human beings, and not just children. That makes a big difference. Thank you!

I already have my Bronze, Silver, Gold and Rookie Lifeguard swimming qualifications, as well as my Powerboat Level 1 qualification and I have gained lots of knowledge and experience from the different activities I have done with NAS so far. I now plan to learn how to dive, as I’d really like to explore shipwrecks under the water with the NAS in future!


I’m really looking forward to the next adventure with NAS and the other volunteers later this year. You never know what you’re going to find…

If you're interested in learning more about historic boats like the ones in Sandwich, and how they were made, sign up to our 'Historic Wooden Boat and Ship Construction' course in October here

To learn more about our current courses, fieldwork and event opportunities please click here. 

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